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The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games (Illinois History of Sports)

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0252017018
ISBN-10: 0252017013
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In the film Chariots of Fire (1981), a prejudiced Olympic official states, "That's a matter for the committee!" Here, Guttmann chronicles the ambitions and backroom maneuvering of the International Olympic Committee and the nationalism that is, in reality, the summer games. The author's premise is that politics have been at the foundation of the modern Olympics from its inception in Athens (1896) to Seoul (1988). Gold, silver, and bronze medals have shared the victory stand with nationalism, and have even been tarnished by arrogance, protests, terrorists, and boycotts. Although the text emphasizes the political and socioeconomic climate of the Olympics, it also contains memorable accounts of athletic competition. This book, intended for the serious nonspecialist reader, will be a valuable addition to both general and specialized collections, particularly in this Olympic year.
- Albert Spencer, Coll. of Education, Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Guttmann is an excellent scholar, and his bibliographical essay remains an excellent source material for research." -- Choice "In a thoroughly revised and updated study, [Guttmann] traces the history of the modern Olympics from 1896 t0 2000, contrasting the ideal of the game with the often politicized reality." -- Books and More for Growing Minds REVIEWS from the 1st edition "Here is a book that is as readable as it is profound, casting a majestic sweep over the Games from 1896." -- G. E. Murray, Sporting Traditions "A wonderfully insightful, judicious, and interpretative essay." -- Steve Gietschier, Sporting News ADVANCE PRAISE "Guttmann, one of the finest historians of sport in the United States and Europe, and a recognized authority on the Olympics, has produced a sound, readable narrative that will appeal to scholars as well as to general readers." -- Randy Roberts, coauthor of Winning Is the Only Thing: Sports in America since 1945 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Illinois History of Sports
  • Hardcover: 191 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (April 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252017013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252017018
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,372,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Professor Brizz on November 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a frustrating book. On one hand, there is a lot of good detail and information on the inception and growth of the modern Olympic games. On the other, just when you think Guttmann is going to delve deeper into a topic he simply skips right on by and gives a quick recap of the medal winners in a given year. He barely even mentions the travesty of 1972 in Munich, and makes only passing mentions of some of the iconic moments of the last 50 years. Instead, he seems much more concerned with the behind the scenes wrangling amongst the various members of the IOC. Indeed, the subtitle of the book should be "A history of the IOC leadership."

Thus, a definitive history of the Olympic games remains to be written. Although the blurbs on the back claim this is a landmark in social and political history, it is anything but. Babe Didrickson, Billy Mills, etc are mentioned, but that's about it. Even his discussion of South Africa and the associated boycotts related to Apartheid are fractured and incomplete.

It's worth a read...but I wish I had visited the library for this one rather than spent my money on it. I recommend you do the same.
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By Mavelle on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
There is some good information here but as one reviewer mentioned, I would have liked to see more depth. Still not a bad read.
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By naes0323 on August 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting book about the history of the olympics. Helpful and informative. Definitely recommend.
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