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Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World, with Some Unexpected Results Hardcover – May 25, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; First Edition edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605294276
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605294278
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,105,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Moore and a robust we suit have boldly gone where only seriously unhinged dudes have gone before, mapping out fresh, unexpected cartography of the waves...What he has done, subtly and beguilingly, is write a book about surfing that often is not really about surfing but about simply being alive. Moore is a modern surf troubadour, singing the adventures of a cast of eccentric pioneers...Moore writes in a spirit far closer to Bruce Chatwin's In Patagonia than to the latest issue of Curve."
-- Andy Martin, author of Stealing the Wave, New York Times Book Review
 
“A wild, passionate, and thrilling ride; in the company of Pacific princes, beatnik athletes, and outlaw long-boarders, Michael Scott Moore catches surfing’s global wave through a sweeping history of America’s most liberating, taut, and tanned cultural export. Glorious!”
—Rory MacLean, author of Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail from Istanbul to India
 
“Warm, smart, funny, and beautifully written. Sweetness and Blood goes off the beaten surf-path to give us a bigger, more interesting surf world.”
—Matt Warshaw, author of The Encyclopedia of Surfing
 
“Michael Scott Moore has delivered a perfect tale, filled with adventure, insight, and exquisite turns of phrase. For those who think surfing is just some Cali boys running around saying ‘dude,’ he shows that wherever there’s water, from Munich to the Gaza Strip, taking a ride on it means freedom—and the siren call is universal.”
—Deanne Stillman, author of Twentynine Palms: A True Story of Murder, Marines, and the Mojave

 
“Sweetness and Blood, Michael Scott Moore’s moving personal hejira through wave-riding’s undiscovered back country, is a constantly surprising and emotional ride as it proves both surf culture’s truly pervasive influence, and how the world of waves—wherever they may be, and whoever rides them—lead to the heart of the world itself.
—David Rensin, author of All for a Few Perfect
 
Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora
“The most fun, riskiest, most joyful, highest form of travelogue lit. Everyone will have their favorite chapter and section. Like Theroux combined with the best part of the best travel story of vintage Granta magazine...love, love, love this book!”
—Joy Nicholson, author of The Road to Esmeralda
 
“A wonderful and engaging book, Sweetness and Blood combines folk history, pop art, and great, old-fashioned travel writing into a fun-filled tale of surfing’s global conquest. From the shell-shocked beaches of the Gaza Strip to the shell-packed beaches of Bali, Moore has packed enough cool cultural ephemera into this one volume to make this book a must-read for anyone interested the sport.”
—Steven Kotler, author of West of Jesus: Surfing, Science and the Origin of Belief
 
“Sweetness and Blood is a lively tour de force of travel writing and enterprising research that tells the truly fascinating story of surfing’s spread into unlikely corners of the globe. This is like Beach Boys music for the sun-hungry brain, imagination, and soul.”
—Francisco Goldman, author of The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop
 
“Sweetness and Blood reveals a great deal about the evolution of surfing but even more about the currents of globalization—which are as complex and as hard to fathom as those of the ocean itself. There is a remarkable character, a surprising bit of history and a fresh insight on every single page of this wonderful book.”
—Ethan Watters, author of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

About the Author

MICHAEL SCOTT MOORE is a novelist and journalist who has written on politics and travel for publications such as the Atlantic, Slate, Spiegel online, Miller-McCune magazine, and the Financial Times. He lives in Berlin, Germany.

More About the Author

Michael Scott Moore is an American novelist and journalist living in Berlin. His first novel, "Too Much of Nothing," is set in the fictional California town of Calaveras Beach. His latest book is a mixture of history and travel called "Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World, With Some Unexpected Results." He's an editor-at-large for Spiegel Online in Berlin, a European correspondent for Miller-McCune Magazine, and a contributor to US publications like The Atlantic Monthly, Salon, and The Los Angeles Times.

His web site can be found at www.radiofreemike.com

Customer Reviews

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For some reason the book does not have pull enough to cause one to make time read it.
Zendicant Penguin
"Sweetness and Blood" really stands out for me as a memorable book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in surfing and it's place in the world's history.
Addison Dewitt
The concept of how surfing ended up in these places was an interesting one, but I just didn't get the author's reason for some of these locations.
J. Muench

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Marc Levy on June 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a my foreign correspondent in 2005, Michael Scott Moore showed how events in Europe connected with what happened in Cambridge, Mass., and the United States in general. Before then, when he lived here -- I'm still in the Boston area, in Cambridge -- he was that guy you saw getting on the red line with a surfboard under his arm.

He would take commuter rail up the North Shore, always with a wetsuit to handle the New England chill and slushy waters of Cape Ann and a ready explanation for the curious and amused: There's surfing in Massachusetts. There's surfing just about everywhere.

It makes sense, then, that his second book, just released in hardcover by Rodale, is "Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World, with Some Unexpected Results."

Indonesia, Germany, Morocco, the Gaza Strip, Japan -- he surfs them all, and more, in writing this second book (his first nonfiction; he also has a novel, "Too Much of Nothing"), but this is not a guidebook to great waves or a smirking reveal of who's wearing baggies under their burka. Moore combines travelogue, reportage, history and cultural analysis into nine smooth essays of novelty, character and insight.

Surfing in Munich, for instance, is done on the swift-flowing waters of the Eisbach canal, technically illegal and eminently dangerous, and the chapter in Germany is lightly haunted by fatality and a condemnation of fun-gesellschaft, the business of fun that floated in with U.S. culture. (Moore also rides the Severn Bore in England, a tidal surge that comes along every 12 hours -- but if you wipe out, you can drive downriver faster than the wave and try again.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dana G. on April 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I admittedly grew up in So Cal (probably around the same time as the author) going to Malibu and Zuma and then the South Bay and OC beaches as I got older. I have always had a special place in my heart for surfing. I love to watch the ocean and I love sports, so surfing is a natural for me. I am interested in books about surfing legends such as Eddie Aikau, Duke Kahanamoku and the like, so this book interested me.

This story didn't really play out the way I sort of expected it to. I was expecting more of a hard and serious history of surfing. I am glad it didn't turn out that way, because this book is really like a guy telling his buds about what he saw on his travels around the world while researching surfing, and how comical that can be. I read this book sitting outside next to my pool (no ocean here, bummer) and it was very entertaining reading.

I really had no idea of surfing outside of the "civilized" world, and that people in Germany surf in a canal. I was so entertained by the detailed stories from the Moroccan people. I guess what this book is really saying is that surfers all over the world are of the same tribe, no matter where they live.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Gompers on July 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Not a bad book at all, but really falsely portrayed by the publisher and maybe a little by the author. This isn't a history of surfing. It is, as other reviewers have noted, a modest travelogue of a journalist who surfs to some non-traditional surfing spots. And that of course is the book's drawing point--that the layman wouldn't expect to know that folks in Germany, Israel, or England actually surf. Lots of fun and quirky characters and anecdotes abound. But I must confess that the author's writing style is dangerously close to going down the path to unconsciousness. I suspect his approach was to let most of the stories and characters 'tell' themselves, but the really good writers know when that isn't always going to succeed. And here it disappoints a little. The tales would have benefited from a little more "TLC" and craft from the author. As they stand, they just seem too matter of fact, even for unique surfers. As I read I kept hoping for and sensing I'd get a little more from the author's style as the descriptions went on, yet every chapter never quite went to the next level. The book could have been so much more colorful given the subject matter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By EdmundEasrlOfGlouchester on December 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Neither a surfer nor interested in surfing (or so I thought). Anyway, really enjoyed this book once the initial history primer ended. It basically became a nap-sack travel novel with Moore playing the role of Paul Theroux. Very fun, interesting and quick read for me. I'd be very interested in reading whatever comes down the pike by this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kristin J. Johnson VINE VOICE on November 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While reading this i stood before the statue of Hawaiian hero Duke Kahanamoku. I wanted to get a photo of this book with the statue, but the steady stream of people from around the world taking pictures by the statue dissuaded me. Those visitors to "the Duke" eloquently sum up surfer Michael Scott Moore's thesis: that surfing is a global phenomenon that started with stand-up paddlers in Hawaii's pre-territory days and spread to Redondo Beach, California, where it grew and spread to the rest of the world: Morocco, israel and the Gaza Strip, Bali, Japan, Germany, Cornish England, Cuba and Sao Tome and Africa.. However, for many surfing will forever be a Hawaiian phenomenon, not a Californian phenomenon. However, it is a little-known fact that sand for Waikiki was brought in from Manhattan Beach, so California traded its sand for the gift of the sport of surfing.

Even if you aren't a surfing enthusiast, Moore writes with energy and dynamism, and makes surfing accessible to a global audience, much as his surfer counterparts and teachers in other parts of the world do.
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