The Whole World Was Watching

With the Olympics in full swing, we take a trip back to the global politics of sporting events during the Cold War

The Whole World Was Watching: Sport in the Cold War

ed. by Robert Edelman and Christopher Young Stanford, 2020
334p index, 9781503610187 $65.00, 9781503611016

The Whole World Was Watching: Sport in the Cold War book cover

Based on a multiyear, international research project, this exhaustively researched collection is grounded in scholarly literature using extensive and varied materials, including new archival and primary sources. Organized in five parts covering the US, the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic, Asia, and postcolonial interactions, this volume discusses games, sports, athletes, and teams throughout the Cold War. A significant strength is the book’s breadth and depth, ensuring that multiple perspectives are represented while examining not only how governments used sports for international and domestic political ends, but also how citizens and fans interpreted games during the Cold War. Providing a more comprehensive analysis than the standard considerations of the US-USSR rivalry or the Olympics, this book fills the gap for a “go-to” text on the role of sports in the Cold War. This is especially useful for complicating well-known stories of standout Cold War sporting moments (like the excellent chapter on German figure skater Katarina Witt) and introducing lesser-known events and actors. This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in the history, sport history, or culture of the Cold War.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.
A. Curtis, Lake Erie College
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – History, Geography & Area Studies
Choice Issue: Jun 2020

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