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The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 31. Oktober 2013

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"Ambitious and elegant, clear-eyed and soulful, The Squared Circle is a fine addition to the canon of literary sports writing."
The Wall Street Journal
"Acid, engaging prose...Shoemaker ensures that the most unsavory aspects of wrestling have their due and that the spectacle's victims won't be forgotten."
Los Angeles Times
"Wonderfully written…A thoughtful chronicle. . . . Whether you're a wrestling fan or just a fan of good writing and stories, The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling delivers."
The Memphis Flyer
"The most erudite book that I have ever read about...the world of professional wrestling."
Good Times Magazine
"Adventurous readers, indifferent to wrestling though they may be, will find this a fun look inside an alternate universe. Fans, of course, will be whacking each other over the head with fake metal folding chairs to get their mitts on a copy."
"Shoemaker is at his best when telling comic anecdotes about the colorful characters of the sport. . . . [a] lively, informed survey.”
Publishers Weekly
"Few people write about anything as well as David Shoemaker writes about pro wrestling.  And if you're the type who dismisses it as a 'fake' sport, just know that this awesome book contains real characters, real betrayals, and very, very real death.  That's great reading."
—Drew Magary, author of Someone Could Get Hurt and The Postmortal
"If you believe that pro wrestling is not a sport, then you've never read David Shoemaker. No one else so ably demonstrates the real-life drama and competition that takes place between the lines of the scripted action. No one else shows how true this fake world can become for the fans, promoters, and yes, pro wrestlers, who practice the trade. If you are a fan of sports and entertainment, or the murky world in between, you will devour this riveting book. And if you believe pro wrestling can't produce top-shelf sports writing, then, yes, you've never read David Shoemaker. He's the CM Punk of the genre, aka 'The Best in the World'."
—Dave Zirin, author of Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down
"This is the undoubtedly the best book about professional wrestling I've ever read. And I hate to admit this, but I've read many books about professional wrestling."
—Mark Titus, author of Don't Put Me In, Coach

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

David Shoemaker has been writing about wrestling since 2009. He is a former book editor and is currently a book designer at Henry Holt and Company. Shoemaker lives in Brooklyn.

In diesem Buch (Mehr dazu)
Ausgewählte Seiten ansehen
Buchdeckel | Copyright | Inhaltsverzeichnis | Auszug | Stichwortverzeichnis
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32 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Covers Some Old Territory, But It's Still A Fascinating And Engaging Read For Wrestling Fans 31. Oktober 2013
Von Brandon Mendelson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I received a review copy of this book just before it hit shelves. I'm glad I did because this is the best book on professional wrestling that I've read that wasn't written by one of the wrestlers.

(As an aside: Chris Jericho and Mick Foley's books are required reading for fans of the sports entertainment spectacle.)

I've been following David's work on Deadspin, and now ESPN's Grantland, for many years. I don't always agree with him. In fact, when he mentions that the current era of the WWE product is in what he calls "The Reality Era", I get a little crazy because I don't agree at all. But regardless, he's a tremendous writer and that's something that's lacking on the Web when it comes to the folks who cover professional wrestling with any regularity. (There's one other exception: Brandon Stroud at UPROXX's With Leather. Everything else is garbage.) He's also honest, fair, and even if you or I don't agree with his points, they're well argued and credible.

So if you've been following David's work for a long time, some of the stuff in this book isn't exactly new territory. Not that you'll mind reading it again because it's wonderfully written, but if some of it sounds familiar, there's a reason. I suspect though, just from my own experience having a book published, that the vast majority of folks who pick up this book are not going to be familiar with David's excellent "Dead Wrestler of the Week" Deadspin column or the current Grantland column. So for a lot of you who are going to read this book, you'll be pleasantly surprised, entertained, and informed while discovering what many of us on the Internet have been saying about David's work for many years now.

This book will make an excellent Christmas and Holiday gift for fans of professional wrestling, and I hope to see a new book on this front in the future from David.
11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Wrestling Fan's Dream 6. November 2013
Von C. Rushing - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
A fantastic book about the history of professional wrestling in the United States. Told in helpful timeline form, this book provided stories and information that I did not know before, and I'd always considered myself a bit of a nerd when it came to wrestling facts. A tremendous read. I found that I could not put it down. Well worth the purchase if you're a wrestling nerd or even a casual fan that wants to know more about how we got to where we are. Highly recommended!
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A good read, but I just wanted more. 19. November 2013
Von Richard H. Thomas - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
It is an impressive book and worth buying. I would tell any wrestling fan it is worth reading. I am not talking about just current wrestling fans, anyone who has ever been a wrestling fan will enjoy it. Even if you have not watched a match since Wrestlmania V or the last Monday Night Nitro, part of this book will speak to you.

The book is an enjoyable read. I had an easy time getting into it. I read it on my kindle, mostly on my lunch break. The chapters are the right length where I could finish a chapter or start over if I needed to get back to work.

Each chapter is the story of a different wrestler. The roots of the book was Shoemakers Dead Wrestler of the Week column he started at Deadspin. He tells the story of pro-wrestling by framing the stories around the dead wrestlers. He does not focus on how wrestlers died, but how they lived. He frames many of the great stories of wrestling this way.

He starts the book with the History of Wrestling. He tries to figure out the point where wrestling went from a competitive sport to a "worked" sport that we have today. This gives him a way to introduce many of the tropes of wrestling. This was the least interesting part of the book to me, but I can see why he had to include it. You could tell he did research on this part of the book, but only about 10% of it was new to me.

The most interesting stories were about the wrestlers I watched first hand. Reading about Andre the Giant, Randy Savage, and Road Warrior Hawk put a smile on my face. It made me feel like I was celebrating their lives. It is odd to read about them now because I am older then they were when I started watching them wrestle.

It is the stories like Curt Hennig that make me sad. While we saw a lot of great matches from Mr. Perfect, I always felt like he never got as far as he should. The sad stories are the people you feel did not get enough out of their life. More of these stories are in the back of the book, for the wrestlers about my age.

I could tell that David Shoemaker is younger than me. The book did not have the feeling of a writer that have lived first hand through things before I was a wrestling fan. This books is good, but it left me wanting more. There are more dead wrestlers who I want to read about, more periods of wrestling to explore, more wrestling promotions to learn about, and more wrestlers to read about. May of the people in this book deserve their own book. I have no doubt that Randy Savage or the Von Erich's could support a whole book.

The book ends with the duel stories of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. Their deaths was either the last moment of the last era in wrestling or the first moment of this era of wrestling, maybe there is no difference between the two. There is a darkness that hangs over everything we see when we watch wrestling. Reading this book just makes that clear.
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A good read 7. November 2013
Von K. Veeraraghavan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
As a wrestling fan, it can be difficult to find intelligent wrestling commentary. I became familiar with The Masked Man, aka David Shoemaker, mainly through his work at Grantland, and have always found him to be an interesting and thought provoking read on the subject.

There is a lot of interesting history and stories in the book. However, I think it suffers from the format. Chapters focus on a particular wrestler, similar to his Dead Wrestler of the Week columns, but as a result, there's a lot of repeated material as the histories of various wrestlers intersect. This is fine for columns that stand by themselves, but in a book, it becomes off-putting. Since it's all told from a third party perspective, there isn't much gained from hearing the same story in a different context.

I think, to some degree, the book would be improved if it cut the number of wrestlers it focused on, and went longer form on a small number. Andre the Giant may be the last person who is as much legend as reality. People spinning yarns about Andre the Giant is probably a very good book unto itself, but here he's just the guy between Junkyard Dog and Lou Albano (that's a little unfair: Andre is never "just the guy" to a wrestling fan and Shoemaker is no different. But it illustrates the point). I don't mean to say either in particular should have been cut, but I don't think thought was given to the fact including more wrestlers implicitly cut the attention given to any individual.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would be eager to have more by Shoemaker. I'm somewhat critical only because there is so little quality content on the subject, and I know what he's capable of delivering. Any wrestling fan should definitely pick this one up.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
it’s hard to come by truly great writers of the craft 10. Januar 2015
Von Brett Milam - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
When it comes to writing about professional wrestling, it’s hard to come by truly great writers of the craft. David Shoemaker is one such writer. He’s eloquent and his book “The Squared Circle” reads like a Greek play, a battle between Gods in a, well, squared circle. It’s a book that spun out of his column chronicling the deaths of wrestlers and came to encompass the history of professional wrestling.

And professional wrestling’s history is also the history of American spectator events, television, cable, PPV, and everything in between. As one example, how many great sports athletes, entertainers and other figures cite Gorgeous George, a prominent wrestler in the 1950s timed with the explosion of television, as an influence? Muhammad Ali, for one.

“The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived,” is a quote Shoemaker has from Petronius toward the start of his book and right there is the catch. That quote perfectly encapsulates the magic of art, of fiction and of entertainment. That’s the rub. When I go to the movies, I don’t want Brad Pitt winking at me that he’s an actor and all of this is fake. I want to “buy in” to the fictional presentation. When I read Stephen King, I don’t want an interlude from the author winking at me. I want to “buy in.” Professional wrestling is no different. I’m not here to convince people that professional wrestling is vastly under-credited and under-analyzed and under-respected, which it is, but it’s worth stressing the rub. And it’s just a good quote.

As Shoemaker opens the book, he gets at what’s really “fake” about professional wrestling and to which says something larger about other sports and life and idolatry, “It’s the story of a mythology populated not by gods, but by real men, fallible mortals who served as vessels for a larger truth, men who lived the lives of kings and who suffered to be our idols. This is the ultimate fakery of wrestling — that the emperor has no clothes, that the gods are mortals. But in reliving their lives, what became clear is that the mythology is what matters the most. We make our own gods for our own purposes. And we love them, and that’s the whole point.”

Right. We don’t want to know the story of Joe Montana having a concussion, not remembering where or who he is. We want to “buy in” to their godliness, their feats that seem beyond human abilities on the gridiron, in the squared circle, on the stage, wherever. Even if you’re not a wrestling fan, the idolatry that wrestling fans bestow on professional wrestlers is one other fans of other sports and entertainment products can relate to. Moreover, they can relate to watching (and anguishing) over the fall of their gods.

Which is why I think even a non-wrestling fan could enjoy this book. It’s a familiar story of the highs, lows, drugs, sex, deception and tragedy associated with the searing heat of the spotlight, the desire to maintain the spotlight and the pitfalls of an elusive spotlight.

Perhaps the worst tragedy of it all is the “ignoble existence” of a wrestler in the real world, a “painful and deadly one,” as Shoemaker says toward the end of the book. That a wrestler punishes themselves in the ring, punishes themselves going up and down the roads that transverse the world, and they do so under the bizarre suffocating blanket of wrestling’s “fakery.” Sure, the wrestling fans give them idol-status, if they’re good enough, if they punish themselves enough and even then, we always beg for that “one last match,” but beyond that niche? They’re like the gods of the sewers.

Reading this book gives you the most comprehensive, well-written expose and homage into the lives of those that lived this ignoble existence and died for it. Sacrificial lambs to the altar of their dreams.
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