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The Meaning Of Sports: Why Americans Watch Baseball, Football and Basketball and What They See When They Do (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 24. Februar 2010

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  • Taschenbuch: 374 Seiten
  • Verlag: PublicAffairs; Auflage: Revised. (24. Februar 2010)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1586483307
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586483302
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,7 x 2,2 x 20,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 337.279 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"Not only fascinating but enormously entertaining. A knowledgeable sports fan will learn more than a thing or two. I'm one and I did. The non-sports fan will discover just why sports are woven so tightly into the fabric of American life." Wall Street Journal"


No-one can deny the power of sports in American culture but before Michael Mandelbaum, no-one had truly explained it. In The Meaning of Sports, Mandelbaum, one of America's most pre-eminent foreign policy thinkers applies the full force of his wit and intellect to America's century-long love affair with team sports. Whether he is writing about the histories, the legends, the rules or the strategies of these games, Mandelbaum illuminates the cultural principles and the social trends that they embody. Critically acclaimed by sports writers, cultural commentators and political pundits, The Meaning of Sports offers everyone - from novice sports fans to the most seasoned fanatics, from scholars of Americana to sports widows - a deep, compelling and utterly new understanding of baseball, football and basketball: what they say about us and why so many of us follow them with such remarkable devotion.

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Format: Taschenbuch
The Meaning of Sports has as its premise a fascinating idea: Explain our national obsession with our three top sports . . . ones that fail to captivate people in most of the rest of the world. I had often wondered about that subject, and looked forward to learning a lot. Well, I didn't really learn very much at all on that subject.

While the book purports to take an anthropologist's view of our sports, we need to remember that anthropologists mostly work with scraps and remnants left behind from the past. The skills of psychology are probably more relevant to explaining sports fanaticism, and this book doesn't apply that reference very often.

Mr. Mandelbaum chooses to characterize each sport in an overly simplified way. Baseball harkens back to the happy summers of our youth when we had lots of unstructured time. Baseball is a reference to our agrarian roots. Football allows us to turn our fascination with violence into a more positive direction than invading other countries (recent events might challenge that interpretation), while being an emblem of the industrial culture that we are leaving behind. Basketball reflects the new world order of working in flexible teams on changing assignments, and is a good metaphor for the post-industrial society we live in today. For impoverished youths, basketball has some of the nostalgia that baseball has for the middle class. I found these references and conclusions to be pretty superficial and not very insightful.

What I was surprised to find in the book was a pretty thorough history of each of the three sports. For a non fan who wants to get up-to-speed with the fans in her or his life, those parts are valuable.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 17 Rezensionen
33 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
More valuable for it's historical v. social analysis. 9. Juni 2004
Von David J. Gannon - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Michael Mandelbaum is not a sports writer. He's part of the Washington foreign policy establishment and a professor of International studies at Johns Hopkins University. So, while he is an academic he's neither an anthropologist nor a social historian. He is, obviously, an ardent sports fan. Knowing these facts helps to understand both why this book works and why it fails.
The book works superbly as an historical analysis. Even dedicated sports fans of the Big Three (football, baseball and basketball) will learn quite a bit about the development of their favorite sports as well as about the titans of the games that whose accomplishments fueled their growth. He also provides some interesting and unique insights as to turning points in the history of each sport and how the vortex of those turning points was so similar. For example, Ruth in baseball, Rockne in football and Hank Lusetti in basketball all provided an elevation point for their respective sports both by providing dramatic, interesting, charismatic personalities but also through feats that made the ball easy to see in dramatic fashion (Ruth with the towering home run, Rockne by popularizing the forward pass, Lusetti in inventing the jump shot).
The book is far less successful as a vehicle of social analysis. Mandelbaum uses allusion a lot as a means for evoking the social meaning of sport. I'm not aware that allusion is a key too of either social science in general or anthropology in particular. A comparative analysis that juxtaposes baseball with agrarian values, football with industrial and martial values and basketball with spectacularly ill defined "post industrial" values may have some illustrative value but fails as an analytical tool. This discussion is often interesting but it fails to address two basic issues, to wit (1) the meaning of sports in general and (2) the enigma that the most popular US sports are of little significance to the rest of humanity.
On the whole this is a lively and informative book, and I very much enjoyed reading it. However, it doesn't even come close to its stated goal of explaining the meaning of sports, and in the end that is a major disappointment.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
a terrific read--and not just for sports fans 30. Juni 2004
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Michael Mandelbaum, who happens to be one of the country's leading experts on international politics, offers here a beautiful written, engaging account of the history of America's three major sports: baseball, football, and basketball. Sports enthusiasts will love this book, but so will those--like me--who have only a passing interest in sports, or none at all, for Mandelbaum not only tells us about the colorful personalities and defining moments of American sports; he shows us how sports shaped who we are as a people. There is an abundance of wit, wisdom, and insight in this book, and the prose is so elegant and effortless that the pages turn (all too) rapidly. Buy this book. You'll be swept away. Great for summer reading and likely to become a classic.
17 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Outstanding - A great book for Sports Fans & Thinkers Alike 10. Juli 2004
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
What a wonderful and unique addition to the world of sports publishing. Not only are there facts galore that educate even a highly knowledgeable sports fan, the insights and analysis are unparrelled. I could not put it down.
This amazing book by Professore Mandelbaum can be read on many levels (far more than I can probably grasp) and yet it appears approachable by anyone; be they sports fan, someone who questions why sports are important in our society, and even those looking for lessons on how to lead people or manage a business.
The contrasting of baseball, football and basketball provides a fascinating window on why we Americans are who we are today and how we got here. The interlacing of history with observations about how people operate in our society and within organizations is really amazing.
We love our football in Texas and Mandelbaum is right on in his analysis about football in every sense. He hits the mark on baseball and basketball as well. This book really makes you think, but gives so much in return that you come away feeling as though you just had a wonderful meal for your mind. I now enjoy watching sports more than I did before reading The Meaning of Sports.
I am going to read it again.
11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A wonderful read---pure pleasure and fascination 30. Juni 2004
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I loved this book for its beautiful writing, the clarity of the author's thinking, and the way it showed me why people love sports. I've given it to my father, a big time sports fan, who adored it, and my grandmother, who has lived with a sports fan for more than 60 years, and she loved it, too. Whether you love sports or don't understand what the big deal is, this is a great read, pure pleasure. You'll learn a lot whether you started at zero or were very knowledgable to begin with. A great book by a great writer.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Superb! A great mind applied to a great subject 15. Juli 2004
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a brilliant book. I recommend it wholeheartedly to any sports fan, as well as to anyone who isn't a fan. It is a pleasure to read and you'll learn a lot about the culture of the United States, about human nature and about why people love sports. Beautifully written, as well. A great mind applied to a great topic.
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