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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

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  42 Ratings  ·  12 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

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Kindle Edition
Published (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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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
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Jay
Oct 25, 2013 Jay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Margaret Sankey
Jun 11, 2013 Margaret Sankey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Beth Wyse
About a quarter of the way through I thought about quitting, but I kept going. Now that I'm finished I wish I had stopped. The research seems to be good and it does include baseball stories. However, the author dislikes organized baseball (MLB), the US Government and the US Military. I should have read the reviews and then I would have known what to expect. At times he criticizes MLB for things and suggests they could have done the alternative which he had already described negatively. If you ca ...more
Kim
Oct 11, 2010 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Scott Martin
Jun 07, 2017 Scott Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Audiobook) An interesting take on the "American Pastime." Elias discusses the history of baseball but not just from a purely sports perspective. The history of baseball and American politics are intertwined, both on the domestic and foreign policy front. Where most nowadays might associate baseball more with a calmer, peaceful game (think George Carlin's famous routine comparing baseball to football), but that has not always been the case. Even today, baseball is very much a symbol of American ...more
Steven
Dec 12, 2011 Steven rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Joseph
May 19, 2015 Joseph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Horrible politics, good research. The Author tries to hard to bend the evidence to his left wing views. Tons of fun facts here though.

Sir Thomas Lipton became a baseball fan tried to introduce the game on his tea plantations. Abraham Lincoln missed his vote as a republican presidential candidate to take his at bat, Eisenhower played semi-pro ball which could of jeopardized his west-point scholarship and in 1962 Kennedy once stood up the Laos Ambassador to see the Washington Senator's on Openning
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Kristin
Mar 10, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 09, 2010 Sarah Sammis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Forum on KQED
Link+ due 6/12/12
Tim Basuino
This started off well enough, with an explanation for the term “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and the insinuation of what America’s most loved (and hated) team really stands for. Unfortunately, Page 1 was one of the few useful pieces in this story about baseball’s interrelationship with world politics.

I get that baseball isn’t perfect – certainly it’s had a long history of poor policies regarding race, sex, and war. But it isn’t awful either, especially when one compares it with other major sports in the
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