Body Politic: The Great American Sports Machine

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9780743247740: Body Politic: The Great American Sports Machine
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A sportswriter and author of Black Planet examines the way in which basketball players have become public heroes, focusing on such individuals as Ichiro Suzuki, Latrell Sprewell, and Hideki Matsui and exploring such topics as athlete tattoos, sports movie resurrection myths, and the recent influx of European players. 15,000 first printing.

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Review:

In Body Politic: The Great American Sports Machine, critically acclaimed sportswriter, essayist, and novelist David Shields focuses on race and cultural relations, as observed in the media's portrayal and myth-building of sports, particularly professional basketball and baseball. Although no sustaining contention ties the chapters of the book together, Shields attempts to explain the place in popular American culture, as created and influenced by TV commentators and the figures themselves, of such known iconic quantities as: Howard Cosell, Phil Jackson, Charles Barkley, and Japanese baseball imports Ichiro Suzuki and Hideke Matsui. Also included are chapters on Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks and a principal owner of the Seattle SuperSonics; the perceived dichotomy between East Coast (hard) vs. West Coast (soft) athletes and teams; baseball players whose careers have ended because of tics that cause them to suddenly flub routine throws; a brief analysis of the most popular American sports films; and the tattoo culture of basketball and racial themes in its advertising.

The book mainly consists of Shields's musings on quotes from and about sports figures, which do not always support the matter-of-fact interpretations he would like us to believe. He (wisely) decrees: "whoever owns the story tells its meaning"--which leaves room for your own judgment and speculation on what was said, and meant, by the sources. Somewhat thin but entertaining nonetheless, Body Politic provides interesting, evocative material and food for thought on what professional sports, and star athletes, are all about. --Michael Ferch

From the Author:

"[Shields] elucidates superbly the paradox of sports coverage: although feats of the body seem to defy language, sports is nonetheless 'imprisoned by its prevailing rhetoric.' The ambition in these piercing essays is to discern the reality behind the rhetoric." --Daniel G. Habib, Sports Illustrated

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9780803260320: Body Politic: The Great American Sports Machine

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ISBN 10:  0803260326 ISBN 13:  9780803260320
Publisher: Bison Books, 2007
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