The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games / Edition 2

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Glories and fiascos, triumphs and tragedies, records and near misses--all are included in this vivid history of the modern Olympics. Using as a backdrop the athletic events that draw television audiences in the billions, Allen Guttmann has written an interpretive social history of the games. What did the founders of the Olympic Games intend them to mean? And what have they, in the course of a century of tumultuous change, become? Guttmann probes the political, economic, social, and even religious significance of the games, presenting the most complete and readable account to date. In the broadest sense, Guttmann argues, politics has always been a part of the Olympics, not an occasional intruder whose presence may take the form of a boycott, protest, or act of terrorism. The book includes lively accounts of individual competitions. An early marathon through the streets of Paris, for example, brought complaints from the U.S. team that the course had been designed to allow French contestants to take shortcuts. Guttmann also provides insight into the behind-the-scenes maneuvering involved in site selection, as well as little-known facts about the general history of the games and about longtime IOC leader Avery Brundage.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Amherst American studies professor Guttmann ( The Games Must Go On ) rejects the contention that successive boycotts of the 1980 Moscow games by the U.S. and the 1984 Los Angeles games by the then-U.S.S.R. have politicized the Olympics. Instead, claims the author, the games were staunchly political in origin and have remained so. Guttmann regards Baron de Coubertin, their inventor, as an ardent Germanophobe and the 1936 Berlin games as merely an ad for Nazism. He cites the recent opposition of Arab states to the presence of Israel and the African states of the Union of South Africa and observes struggles between the two Chinas and the two Germanys, as well as the slaughter at Munich in 1972. While not ignoring the games proper, Guttmann ably fills in the background. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Library Journal
In the film Chariots of Fire (1981), a prejudiced Olympic official states, ``That's a matter for the committee!'' Here, Guttmann chronicles the ambitions and backroom maneuvering of the International Olympic Committee and the nationalism that is, in reality, the summer games. The author's premise is that politics have been at the foundation of the modern Olympics from its inception in Athens (1896) to Seoul (1988). Gold, silver, and bronze medals have shared the victory stand with nationalism, and have even been tarnished by arrogance, protests, terrorists, and boycotts. Although the text emphasizes the political and socioeconomic climate of the Olympics, it also contains memorable accounts of athletic competition. This book, intended for the serious nonspecialist reader, will be a valuable addition to both general and specialized collections, particularly in this Olympic year.-- Albert Spencer, Coll. of Education, Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252070464
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: Illinois History of Sports Series
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 1,424,362
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Introduction: The Olympic Games Are More Than Games 1
1 The Baron's Dream 7
2 Growing Pains and Increasing Success 21
3 The Games Reach Maturity 37
4 The Most Controversial Olympics 53
5 Destruction and Recovery 73
6 In the Shadow of the Cold War 85
7 The Era of (Relative) Good Feelings 103
8 Organizational Strains 113
9 A Time of Troubles 125
10 The Era of the Boycott 141
11 Calgary and Seoul - But Not Pyongyang 165
12 Juan Antonio Samaranch as CEO 171
13 After the Cold War 183
Appendix 195
Bibliographical Essay 197
Index 203
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2010

    Not relevant for my purpose

    This book is the political history of the olympics and I was looking for the historical value of the olympics as a sport for my daughter to use for her third grade unit project. This book was rather boring.

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