“A people’s history of the Olympics.”New York Times Book ReviewABoston GlobeBest Book of the Year A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the YearThe Games is best-selling sportswriter David Goldblatt’s sweeping, definitive history of the modern Olympics. Goldblatt brilliantly traces their history from the reinvention of the Games in Athens in 1896 to Rio in 2016, revealing how the Olympics developed into a global colossus and highlighting how they have been buffeted by (and affected by) domestic and international conflicts. Along the way, Goldblatt reveals the origins of beloved Olympic traditions (winners’ medals, the torch relay, the eternal flame) and popular events (gymnastics, alpine skiing, the marathon). And he delivers memorable portraits of Olympic icons from Jesse Owens to Nadia Comaneci, the Dream Team to Usain Bolt.
David Goldblatt is the author of The Ball Is Round and Futebol Nation. He writes for the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian and has taught the sociology of sport at Bristol University, the International Center for Sports History and Culture, and Pitzer College in Los Angeles.
Napoleon Ryan is a British actor from London. He began his career on stage, acting in the West End and touring with plays and musicals across Britain, Ireland, and Europe. Napoleon performs on television and in films, and is also known for his work as an audiobook narrator.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations vii
1 This Grandiose and Salutary Task The Reinvention of the Olympic Games 5
2 All the Fun of the Fair The Olympics at the End of the Belle Époque 53
3 Not the Only Game in Town The Olympics and Its Challengers in the 1920s 93
4 It's Showtime! The Olympics as Spectacle 147
5 Small was Beautiful The Lost Worlds of the Post-war Olympics 193
6 The Image is Still There Spectacle versus Anti-Spectacle at the Games 231
7 Things Fall Apart Bankruptcy Boycotts and the End of Amateurism 287
8 Boom! The Globalization of the Olympics after the Cold War 327
9 Going South The Olympics in the New World Order 389