The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad
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The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  24 ratings  ·  8 reviews
It's our game . . . America's game: it has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere--belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly as our Constitution's laws, [and] is just as important in the sum total of our historic life.
--WALT WHITMAN SPEAKING ABOUT BASEBALL

Is the face of American baseball throughout the world that of goodwill ambassador

...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published February 9th 2010 by New Press, The (first published 2010)
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Mitchell
Good history, but horrible political science. Unfortunately, Elias is determined to fit his lefty views into every paragraph somehow. At points it is laughable. My favorite is his question suggesting that it may not be a coincidence that "Bad News Bears" was released the same week that Lt. Calley of My Lai infamy appealed his conviction. I can go on. Many of Elias' comments could just as easily be made about Canada's spread of hockey or the NBA's successful global dominance.

There is quite a bit...more
Jay
Oh, my. I hoped this would be a book about baseball. And while there are stories from baseball, it is really a diatribe against the business of baseball and against the government of the United States when governed by conservatives. Any story from the past 100 years that mentioned baseball in a foreign country or with the military gets ink here, including multiple stories about the making of baseballs. Yes, sporting goods manufacturers get demonized as much as Major League Baseball here. The aut...more
Margaret Sankey
Study of one of American's perennial soft-power exports....baseball. From it's popularity in the Civil War leading to bonding with "muscular Christianity" and the YMCA, presence at every military base, remittances funding Cuban rebels, local people learning for both inclusion and defiance (especially when they win), American Legion baseball, Presidents throwing out first pitches, women and light-skinned Caribbean players during WWII to avoid losing them to the draft, war bond drives, Hank Greenb...more
Steven
I think this is a good history of baseball. It's interesting to read about Washington's troops playing an early version of the game while camped out during the Revolutionary War, and the way the game supplanted Cricket because Cricket was seen as being a British game.

However, the author is an extraordinarily liberal/progressive professor who of course, writes as though his view of things is completely neutral and fair. But in the eyes of Elias, America is an imperialist Empire, constantly lookin...more
Bill O'driscoll
Admittedly, hardball's a pretty narrow lens through which to examine America's history of militarism from the Revolutionary War (!) through WWs I and II, Vietnam and beyond. But Elias, who's both a baseball lover and a patriot (the kind who thinks America should actually, you know, live up to its ideals), renders a compelling shadow history of both sport and nation. Especially interesting are his observations about how Americans who spread hardball abroad (to Japan, for instance, or Cuba) have b...more
Kim
This book contained factinating materrial and covers very important topics. However, more often than not its rhetoric was overblown and conclusory. Rather than being persuasive, the use of language often provoked a negative reaction on my part, although I am in agreement with the author on most of his arguments. The was a great deal of repetition which made the book overlong and buried some of the most interesting revelations.
Kristin
A fascinating book that gives a much needed look at the global politics of baseball. At times it gets a little repetitive and a few didactic moments where the author breaks out of his "neutral" tone, but overall a must read for any baseball scholar or fan.
Sarah Sammis
Jun 08, 2012 Sarah Sammis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sarah by: Forum on KQED
Link+ due 6/12/12
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