Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World, with Some Unexpected Results” as Want to Read:
Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World, with Some Unexpected Results
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World, with Some Unexpected Results

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  24 reviews
An elegant and surprising history of surfing that examines its cultural influence in some of the most unexpected places

How did an obscure tribal sport from precolonial Hawaii--one that was nearly eliminated on its home islands by Christian missionaries--jump oceans to California and Australia? And how did it become such a worldwide passion, influencing lives ar
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Rodale Books (first published 2010)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sweetness and Blood, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sweetness and Blood

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  90 ratings  ·  24 reviews

More filters
Sort order
May 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
This could have been a good one hundred page book, but instead, the author decided to go with a mediocre three hundred page book. When he is talking about surfing, Moore has interesting stories to weave. It is when he meanders away from this, discussing local politics or what an Aussie surfer he meets thinks of the Iraq War. A better editor would have taken a 2 x 4 to these parts. Made it about 70 pages.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the Germany and Japan sections of the book the most, probably because I lived in both countries and am familiar with the culture. I liked comparing “my notes” with author’s. But other chapters were hard not to get bored of. His idea of this book is good, but execution falls short at times.
Nate Hendrix
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book about the origins of surfing at several different locations and even surfing the tide in a canal.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fun travelogue/surf memoir that made me itching to hit the waves....
Todd Stockslager
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
Moore goes around the world to trace the history of surfing's athletic, economic, and cultural spread to places not normally associated with surfing culture. After a brief review of the accepted history (Hawaii to California to Australia and the other usual surfing hotspots) Moore takes off for-- Germany . . . the Gaza Strip . . . Morocco.

Yes, Germany is landlocked, and yes, there is a small "surfing culture" on the canals and rivers of Munich. But this book isn't about how big the w
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
As many people know, surfing originated as a recreational sport of Hawaiian royalty. It was then taken up by commoners, and when westerners arrived in Hawaii they were amazed at the Hawaiian's wave sliding. In the 1920s Duke Kahanamoku went on a surfing tour to California, and that is probably the root of the west coast's surfing culture. What was once an obscure sport developed in one of the most remote places on the planet has since become a pervasive influence on every continent on Earth (exc ...more
Ismail Elshareef
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I was expecting a "surfari" of sort but what I got was so much more. I was immersed in a global adventure, history lessons, cultural analysis and fine reporting by the pithy prose of Michael Scott Moore. A foreign correspondent and a world traveler himself, Moore took me on a global journey that is as unique as it is enriching. He wrote nine very entertaining and informative chapters about the culture of surfing around the world starting in California and moving on to Hawaii, Indonesia, Germany, ...more
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I wrote this review for San Francisco Magazine.

The king of Morocco institutes a surf school to combat Islamic radicals. Punks in Munich dodge local police to surf urban rivers. A Cali fornian doctor sneaks surfboards into Palestine for the Gaza Surf Club. What’s happening here? When you think about America’s global pop-culture influence, Beyoncé, George Clooney, and Michael Jordan come to mind long before Kelly Slater. But journ alist, avid surfer, and former SF Weekly theater critic M
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Basically a book about a guy who travels to a bunch of places where you wouldn't expect there to be surfing (Germany, Cuba, Japan, Morocco, Palestine, etc) and finds their surf culture while waxing philosophically about the culture of the people who live in that location. Essentially, surfing traveled around the world in the 1940s, propelled by US service men after World War II and a Life magazine article. Sometimes he had very interesting insights, but other times, the generalizations about the ...more
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Part history, part travelogue, Moore traces surfing from Polynesian outriggers to the popularization of Hawaii to the confluence of Southern California demographics, mass media and post-WWII chemical industry that gave us Gidget, and then goes off into the strange corners of the surfing culture: the Jewish patron of Palestinian surfing, the capitalist and socialist factions of the Havana Surf Club, the disgruntled Cornish National Liberation Front and their war against hippie tourists, the pecul ...more
Apr 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Received as a FirstReads giveaway. Chapters profile the surfing community and the development of the sport in 9 locations around the world. The more general travelogue commentary was actually more interesting to me than the surfing content. The first chapter is on Hawaii and California, but otherwise, the featured spots are kind of surprising. I understand the author's intent to look at surfing in unexpected places, but, still, I think I would have liked to see something on surfing in Australia.
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I knew that an Economist recommended read based on surfing HAD to be bought! ...and I'm glad I did so. It was a long'ish read, but the author uses his tales of epic surfing - from Hawaii to Indonesia - to explain the culture of the land and how the sport evolved. From the terrorist attacks in Bali to the "unique" hold-ups as a traveler to Israel, Moore shares some great surfing insights while set against several unique cultural and political backdrops.
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, travel
There's not much better occupation on a winter afternoon than sitting down to watch Bruce Brown's Endless Summer. I picked up a copy of this book on a visit to Hawaii and thoroughly enjoyed reading this insider history of the people, places, breaks and outrageous personalities of the surfing world.
May 03, 2011 rated it liked it
lots of interesting information, and a good survey of the state of surfing in some pretty unlikely places. Nicely written, occasionally uncomfortable, but just because the content is difficult some time.
Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it
The Author travelled all over teh world to find where and when surfing was introduced into the culture. I took many notes during my time reading this book, and found many websites where pictures of the surf breaks mentioned in the book could be seen, dramatic and exciting read.
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
You really, really need to be into the minutiae of surfing history to enjoy this. Lots of time spent speculating on who was the first to surf in various spots throughout the world, how surf cultures develop, etc. etc. ad nauseum.
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Won this one first reads.

I was not actually able to read this one. A friend "borrowed" it and has decided that I can not have it back. I have not seen it since he left with it. He really likes it.
Jun 25, 2010 rated it liked it
A really interesting look at the origins of surfing in places where you wouldn't expect to find it. As much history into those places as into the act of surfing itself, so a great travel story, as well.
Kira Henehan
Totally entertaining. I think even someone who wasn't surf-obsessed could very much enjoy this sheerly for the fine writing and the fascinating narratives.
Maureen Flatley
Jun 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Obsessed w/ surfing...reading about it, not doing it. Great book on history of surfing!
Danie P.
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very readable history of surfing around the world.
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Liked it a lot, good history of surfing and well-written
May 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Pure awesomeness.
rated it it was ok
Nov 16, 2017
rated it liked it
Jan 01, 2016
rated it liked it
Oct 10, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Feb 21, 2012
rated it really liked it
Sep 25, 2012
rated it liked it
Sep 16, 2010
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Michael Scott Moore is a literary journalist and novelist, author of a comic novel about L.A., "Too Much of Nothing," as well as a travel book about surfing, "Sweetness and Blood," which was named a best book of 2010 by The Economist and Popmatters. He was kidnapped in 2012 on a reporting trip to Somalia and held hostage for two and a half years.

His book about the ordeal, "The Desert a