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Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World, with Some Unexpected Results Paperback – May 24, 2011
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“Moore and a robust wet suit have boldly gone where only serious and often seriously unhinged dudes have gone before, mapping out a 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.” ―New York Times Book Review
“[A] lovely ride, a sweet story told with a lilt.” ―Los Angeles Times
“Jolly!” ―The Economist
“A lively global jaunt that will offer some surprises even for the heartiest of wave-riding experts.” ―The Washington Post
“[He] burrows into each locale with a keen ear for dialogue and a bullshit detector set to ‘stun' . . . The clarity of his prose leaves us hungry for Moore.” ―The Surfer's Journal
“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 History of Surfing
“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 Say Her Name and The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?
About the Author
MICHAEL SCOTT MOORE is a novelist and journalist from California. He was a 2006-2007 Fulbright fellow in Berlin, where he currently works for Spiegel Online and writes a column for Miller-McCune Magazine. His first novel, Too Much of Nothing, was published by Carroll & Graf in 2003. He's written on politics and travel for publications such as The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, and the Financial Times. He's also at work on a second novel.
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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.