Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics

Author(s): Jules Boykoff

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The Olympics have not always been the commercialised juggernaut we know today, but as Jules Boykoff makes clear in this story-filled and devastating history, the Games have since their inception had a thoroughly checkered political history. Pierre de Coubertin, the aristocrat who gave birth to the modern Olympics, was against allowing women to participate, and allowed African countries to participate only to offset their "individual laziness". Boykoff, a former member of the US Olympic soccer team, takes readers from the nineteenth-century origins of the modern Games, through its flirtations with Fascism, and into the contemporary era of corrupt, corporate control. Along the way he recounts vibrant alt-Olympics movements, like the Workers' games and Women's Games of the 1920s and 1930s to the Gay Games of the 1980s through today.


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Jules Boykoff is an academic, author, and former professional soccer player. He is the author of Activism and the Olympics, Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games, Landscapes of Dissent, Beyond Bullets: The Suppression of Dissent in the United States, among others. He has been called "one of the biggest names in international Olympic Games academia." His writing has appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and he has been interviewed on the BBC and Democracy Now! He is a professor of Politics and Government at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.

General Fields

  • : 9781784780722
  • : Verso Books
  • : Verso Books
  • : May 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jules Boykoff
  • : Paperback
  • : 216