Patriotic Games: Sporting Traditions in the American Imagination, 1876-1926 by S. W. Pope

Patriotic Games: Sporting Traditions in the American Imagination, 1876-1926

byS. W. Pope

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

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In Patriotic Games, historian Stephen Pope explores the ways sport was transformed from a mere amusement into a metaphor for American life. Between the 1890s and the 1920s, sport became the most pervasive popular cultural activity in American society. During these years, basketball wasinvented, football became a mass spectator event, and baseball soared to its status as the "national pasttime." Pope demonstrates how America's sporting tradition emerged from a society fractured along class, race, ethnic, and gender lines. Institutionalized sport became a trans- class mechanism forpackaging power and society in preferred ways--it popularized an interlocking set of cultural ideas about America's quest for national greatness. Nowhere was this more evident than the intimate connection established between sport and national holiday celebrations. As Pope reveals, Thanksgivingsports influenced the holiday's evolution from a religious occasion to a secular one. On the Fourth of July, sporting events infused patriotic rituals with sentiments that emphasized class conciliation and ethnic assimilation. In a time of social tensions, economic downturns, and unprecedentedimmigration, the rituals and enthusiasms of sport, Pope argues, became a central component in the shaping of America's national identity.

About The Author

S. W. Pope is an Instructor at the University of Southern Maine.
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Details & Specs

Title:Patriotic Games: Sporting Traditions in the American Imagination, 1876-1926Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.49 × 6.38 × 0.94 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195091337

ISBN - 13:9780195091335

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From Our Editors

Between the 1876 centennial and the 1926 sesquicentennial, a national sporting culture was firmly established in the United States. In Patriotic Games, historian S. W. Pope examines this remarkable rise of sport and America's sporting ideology, telling a story that illuminates the deepest workings of a society coping with social tension, economic dislocation, and unprecedented immigration. As Pope reveals, the study of sport's ascension offers a unique window into a larger historical process whereby men and women, social classes, and racial and ethnic groups struggled over different versions of not only how to work and play, but what to value. More than mere amusement, sport both as metaphorical activity and class drama helped define and present distinct American visions through public discourse and through people's actual experiences on ballfields, in gymnasiums, and on playgrounds throughout the country. By 1920, most Americans thought organized sports provided the social glue for a nation of diverse classes, regions, ethnic groups, and competing political loyal

Editorial Reviews

"...a valuable addition to sports history scholarship....Patriotic Games is gracefully written and explores more fully and satisfactorily than any previous book the relationship between nationalism and American sports in the years between the American centennial in 1876 and thesesquicentennial in 1926."--The Journal of American History