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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
The Amazon Book Review
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“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 on Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora
“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.
Top customer reviews
I was terribly disappointed in the entertainment value of this book from my perspective of wanting to read good surf stories and not a travel history book. Not that it's badly written but rather, it didn't match my desire. Read with caution and research what is here if your interests are the same as mine.
Michael Scott Moore's book tells of his travels to surfing spots around the world and his efforts to uncover the earliest evidence of surfing in each of those places: Hawaii, California, Indonesia, Germany (river surfing+), Morocco, The United Kingdom (surfing tidal boles), Israel and the Gaza strip, Cuba, Sao Tome and Principe (Africa), and Japan. it's a globetrotter's tale of life, times, culture, and the incursion of surf culture into each of those places.
if you are looking for a book about surfing, this is not it. This is a book about a quest to understand regional origins of surfing. Even so, I found the book to be enjoyable, even if it did seem at times like the book read like a travelogue blog (-1 star).
You do have to admit that surf culture has infused itself into just about every part of global culture. I saw a surf shop last week while I was traveling in north-central Utah, of all places! I see surf emblems and posters all over the place...even where I live in Idaho! There's no surf here, but there is actually quite an active long boarding (skate boarding) collective, and long boarders and surfers share many attitudes and cultural perspectives (I know this after living in Hawaii for 1.5 years and 5 years in Santa Cruz, CA).
So, Moore found that not only surfing, but also surf culture has made its way around and into the world.
if his sounds interesting to you, then you will probably like this book. If all you want is a book about surfing, keep on looking.
The two most interesting countries he covers are Cuba and Israel. He gives an even-handed account of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. He gives an interesting account of the commie paradise of Cuba in which the lack of freedom impoverishes the nation. He covers poor nations in which surfing is just taking off and only a few boards are available or people try to make their own homemade boards. Surfers say there is nothing quite like riding the waves; the pleasure is beyond words.
Moore does not have a great, substantial story to tell. But he has a lot of little interesting stories.