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Something Like the Gods: A Cultural History of the Athlete from Achilles to LeBron Hardcover – June 5, 2012


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Something Like the Gods: A Cultural History of the Athlete from Achilles to LeBron + Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Road Trip into the Heart of Fan Mania
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; First Edition edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609611233
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609611231
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,313,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

How did we come to view athletes in a holy light? Stephen Amidon's Something Like the Gods supplies straightforward and engaging answers.By identifying the continuity and the changes over aeons of history in a style that is amusing and deft, Amidon succeeds where many have failed: He's written a critical history of sports that also captures what exactly attracts us to these games in the first place. —Dave Zirin

Review

"A brief but enlightening history of the athlete as a cultural icon...Amidon's broad historical sweep fascinates with its facts and challenges with its commentary...A cultural history of sports that says as much about all of us as it does about athletes." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Erudite and entertaining...Amidon's treatise will please scholars and spectators alike." -- Publisher's Weekly


More About the Author

Stephen Amidon was born in Chicago. He is the author of Subdivision, a book of short stories, and six novels, including The New City and Human Capital, which Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post chose as one of the five best novels of 2004. His books have been published in sixteen countries and a film version of Human Capital, Il Capitale Umano, directed by Paolo Virzi, has just opened to great acclaim in Italy. He is a regular contributor of essays and criticism to newspapers and magazines in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. Amidon lived and worked in London for twelve years before returning to the United States in 1999. He is currently finishing his seventh novel. For more information, visit stephenamidon.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samuel J. Sharp on May 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Something Like the Gods" is an informative and at times stimulating discussion of the athlete's changing historical role as a spiritual, political, heroic, and commercial figure. The book is well organized with vivid storytelling. Sports enthusiasts will recognize most of the events discussed, but will be prompted to think about them from a new perspective. For example, most fans know about Lake Placid and the miracle defeat of the Soviet hockey team, but rereading that story after learning of the Kiev Dynamo's soccer matches under Nazi rule connects a long string of athletic contests into a cohesive example of the athlete's enduring bravery and ability to inspire. Amidon's book adds depth to our thinking about athletes, and points out that even as we try to map man's best qualities to modern athletes, we are bound to be disappointed. After all, "They never signed on to be exemplars of morality or courage. They simply want to play."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary A LaCour on March 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perfect gift for a son-in-law who is hooked on sports and hard to buy for - and also a Greek.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hugo on January 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I use this book in my Sports Literature class as a foundation for students who don't have a solid grasp of sports history and culture. A great read, and really informative.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth H. Sherwood on June 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well researched and extremely well written/organized work on the history of the athlete. Very easy to read with historical facts intertwined with today's athletes. One of Steve Amidon's finest books. He has the unique ability to perfectly describe events and make you feel like you are there. Turns out I was at the same Yankee Bat Day game that he writes about in the "Facade" and I felt like was back at that game when reading about it. It was the first MLB game I went to and I still vividly remember it and his description was on the mark.
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