Allison's Reviews > Rome 1960

Rome 1960 by David Maraniss
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Dec 12, 11

bookshelves: education-grad, historical
Read in October, 2010

We think of the Olympics as a time where the world stops for two weeks and just enjoys the competition. But the Olympics are just that, a competition. And the countries involved use the Olympics to fight their battles in a new forum.

Previous Olympics had been about the host cities showing themselves off to the world. These Olympics were about countries proving themselves to the world.

20 years before the Miracle on Ice, the Soviets and Americans were battling it out on the track. Some of the first American into Soviet Russia were the athletes.

The Civil Rights Movement showed itself through the first black American to lead the Opening Ceremonies and carry the flag. At the same time, apartheid controlled South Africa fielded an all-white team. They may have made breakthroughs in sports but they were treated the same at home.

All of the movements of the 1906s are played out here, through the athletes, at the Olympics. I thought the weaving of sports, politics, and social issues was done brilliantly. Hearing from the athletes, reporters, and other attendees before, during, and after gave us the whole picture. It made me see the Olympics in a whole new way.

I wish I had read this book back in high school. I think students would be able to see how all of these themes/movements were happening at the same time and interacted with each other.
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