Sports Spectators

Allen Guttmann, Author Columbia University Press $46 (236p) ISBN 978-0-231-06400-2
Author of two fine sports histories, From Ritual to Record and The Games Must Go On, Guttmann, professor of American studies at Amherst, here tackles the questions of who views sports and why. After a feeble look at spectating in ancient Greece and Rome, for which there are few sources, the narrative gains momentum and is exceedingly thorough in treating the most recent two centuries. In general, Guttmann shows, the appeal of various sports has been heavily dependent on class: while the British aristocracy moved from jousts to horse races to cricket, the peasants went from medieval football to bear-baiting to soccer. Class differences, he believes, help to explain spectator violence in modern sports: hooliganism at a golf match is unheard of, while it is common at soccer games. After effectively demolishing Marxist views of sport as the new opiate of the masses, he concludes that sports serve as a unifying factor in society. (October)
Reviewed on: 10/28/1986
Release date: 11/01/1986
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-231-06401-9
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-231-51709-6
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