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Body Politic

Body Politic

The Great American Sports Machine

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In Body Politic, David Shields looks at contemporary America and its mythology through the lens of professional and college sports. The result is an unusually insightful and provocative book about an empire in denial. Shields relentlessly examines the way we tell our sports stories (both fictional and nonfictional), considers the kinds of athletes we choose as heroes, and delineates the lessons and values we glean from sports. He explores the intricate and telling relationships between players and coaches, black and white players, immigrant and native players, male and female players, players and broadcasters, players and fans, and players and advertisers. In the process, he shows us the stories we Americans tell ourselves about the kind of people we believe ourselves to be.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 208 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439141571 | 
  • May 2010
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The Wound and the Bow: A Long Prologue

I know that Howard Cosell was childishly self-absorbed and petulant ("It's hard to describe the rage and frustration you feel, both personally and professionally, when you are vilified in a manner that would make Richard Nixon look like a beloved humanitarian. You can't imagine what it does to a person until you've experienced it yourself, especially when you know that the criticism is essentially unfair"); that he would obsess upon, say, the Des Moines Register's critique of his performance; that too soon after he achieved prominence, the beautiful balance between righteous anger and... see more

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