From Publishers Weekly
It's a long road between the Nazi spectacle of Adolf Hitler's 1936 Olympic Games in Munich and the media frenzy of David Beckham's 2007 move to Los Angeles, but there has been one constant during the intervening years of athletic history-sports shoes. This book traces the evolution of Gebrüder Dassler, a Bavarian shoe company founded by two brothers whose vicious feud led to the creation of two rival, iconic businesses: Adidas and Puma. Smit, an international business journalist, delivers a fascinating story of the complicated intrigues in the lives of both companies, as well as the founders and their descendants. The tale encompasses almost ever major sports figure in modern times, from Jesse Owens, (who wore Dassler shoes during the 1936 Games, unaware that the two brothers were members of the Nazi Party), to basketball legend Walt Frazier, whose signature Puma "Clydes" sold "well over one million pairs throughout the Seventies," kick starting the sports shoe-as-fashion statement trend. Overall, Smit provides a necessary account of how the growth in sports-related businesses has moved athletics "from jolly amateurism to unapologetic greed."
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“As a history of how so much of the world came to be shod in running shoes, SNEAKER WARS is a book you’ll read at a sprint. Drawing from dozens of interviews and stacks of documents, Ms. Smit reconstructs an anecdote-rich history of competition, commercialism and corruption.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Smit brings a keen reporter’s eye to the schism between Puma and Adidas. The book also ably tells the broader story of the red-hot global sneaker trade.” (Conde Nast Portfolio)
“What does David Beckham’s superstardom have to do with a pair of warring Bavarian brothers in the early 1900s? More than you think, according to this compelling book.” (Time Magazine)
“Barbara Smit deserves high praise.” (Sunday Telegraph)
“First-class piece of investigative reporting... enthralling narrative tale... invaluable contribution to our understanding of shoes, sports, corruption.” (David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero)
“SNEAKER WARS is great for understanding the ins and out of the industry.” (Bobbito Garcia)