Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Allen Guttmann  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1932 Chicago

-- Allen Guttmann on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Biographical and Professional Information

Allen Guttman is a Professor of English and American Studies at Amhurst College.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Jewish Writer in America: Assimilation and the Crisis of Identity
ISBN: 0195014472

Oxford University Press. 1972

From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports
ISBN: 0231133413

Columbia University Press. 2004

Originally published in 1978, From Ritual to Record was one of the first books to recognize the importance of sports as a lens on the fundamental structure of societies. In this reissue, Guttmann emphasizes the many ways that modern sports, dramatically different from the sports of previous eras, have profoundly shaped contemporary life.

Sports Spectators
ISBN: 0231064012

Columbia University Press. 1986

In his previous books Allen Guttmann has provided incisive perspectives on Avery Brundage's role in the Olympic movement and on the nature of modern sports. Now, in his latest book, the accomplished historian of sport turns his attention from the playing field to the grandstand. Sports Spectators, the first historical study of the subject from antiquity to today, is at once erudite and entertaining comprehensive and succint.

Guttmann first examines the history of sports spectators, starting with Ancient Greece and Rome. He then moves on to the Renaissance and traces three early sports -the tournament, archery, and early versions of football. The author then focuses on the emergenece of sports in post-Renaissance England, and discusses the curious spectacle of animal sports (bear- and bull-baiting and cockfighting), as well as the first appearance of combat sports such as sword fighting, stick fighting, and boxing. The book concludes its historical view by exploring contemporary baseball, football, rowing, tennis, and golf.

From his chronological narrative, Guttmann shifts to detailed analysis of the economic, sociological, and psychological aspects of sports spectatorship. Who were, and are, sports spectators? What is their gender and social class? Have they normally been participants as well as fans? What are the political functions of sports-watching? What are the social dynamics of spectatorship?

Guttmann provides fresh insights which will be useful to scholars and fascinating to everyone. Sports Spectators also looks at the dramatic transformations radio and television have made, and offers an incisive critique of today's sports-related violence, including the increasingly frequent incidences of spectator hooliganism. How violent (or peaceful) have spectators traditionally been? Has spectator violence increased or decreased?

You needn't be a season ticket-holder to enjoy Sports Spectators. Allen Guttmann makes the history of fandom come alive for any reader interested in Western culture and what forms of entertainment reveal about us, as well as those concerned with the recent growth of spectator violence.

A Whole New Ball Game: An Interpretation of American Sports
ISBN: 0807842206

The University of North Carolina Press. 1988

Sports in America, particularly big-time collegiate and professional sports, have never been more popular. Modern sports events bring us breathtaking demonstrations of grace and power and provide the focal point for the leisure time of hundreds of thousands of Americans. But the world of sports is also increasingly a scene of moral corruption and physical abuse. In A Whole New Ball Game, Allen Guttmann examines the American fascination with sport and what that fascination reveals about our culture.

Like the transformation of American society in the twentieth century, the modernization of American sports has seemed inevitable and ubiquitous. As Guttmann shows, American sports reflect American culture: our sports are secular, bureaucratic, and specialized, and as part of our democratic society, they require at least in theory an equality among competitors. The rules of modern sports reflect their evolution from earlier, less differentiated games. To master the skills required by modern sports, athletes train scientifically, employing the most technologically advanced equipment. And, like almost every other aspect of our lives, sports are quantified: our athletes and the media are almost obsessed with records.

In tracing the development of modern sports in America from the rituals of pre-Columbian cultures to the late-1980s in this book, Guttmann discusses the failure of colonial New England and the antebellum South to influence the evolution of sports. He shows how baseball, a sport that combines premodern and modern characteristics, performed important social functions, helping to Americanize generations of immigrants. Examining basketball as the archetypal modern sport, Guttmann discusses its invention in the YMCA and its vulnerablity to corruption by gamblers, and he provocatively reviews the transformation of informal chlidren's play into adult-sponsored leagues.

One chapter of this important study offers and engrossing account of the female athletes's transition from social outcast to superstar another scrutinizes the failure to achieve racial equality in sports. Guttmann also presents a scathing analysis of the destruction of the athlete's body through drug use and an examination of the search for alternative forms of physical activity. A Whole New Ball Game demonstrates conclusively that sports are an integral part of modern society and that, taken as a whole, they may be the best indicators we have of who we are as a people.

Women's Sports
ISBN: 023106957X

Columbia University Press. 1991

-- A. Bartlett Giamatti, late Commissioner of Baseball

The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games (Illinois History of Sports)
ISBN: 0252070461

University of Illinois Press. 2002

This second edition of Guttmann's critically acclaimed history discusses the intended and actual effects of the modern Olympic Games from 1896 to 2000. The glories and fiascoes, the triumphs and tragedies--Guttmann weaves them all into a vivid and entertaining social history. As Guttmann shows, politics has always been one of the Olympics' major events. He also delves into the colorful history of the athletics, from the Paris marathon course that invited French runners to take shortcuts to the odyssey of Egyptian gym teacher Youssef Nagui Assad, who made three different Olympic teams only to be recalled home each time due to boycotts. Guttmann also provides insight into the byzantine maneuvering involved in site selection, as well as little known facts about the Games' history and figures like longtime Olympics czar Avery Brundage.

The Erotic in Sports
ISBN: 0231105568

Columbia University Press. 1996

Ranging across nearly three millennia of Western history, from Greek athletic competitions to the current body-building craze, the author explores and celebrates the erotic side of sports as seen in literature, art, television, and movies. UP.

Sports: The First Five Millennia
ISBN: 1558496106

Unknown Sponsor. 2007

From ancient Egyptian archery and medieval Japanese football to contemporary American baseball, every sport has been shaped by―and in turn has helped shape―the culture of which it is part. Yet as Allen Guttmann shows in this far-ranging study, for all their differences sports have followed a similar historical trajectory from traditional to modern forms.

In Sports: The First Five Millennia, Guttmann traces this evolution across continents, cultures, and historical epochs to construct a single comprehensive narrative of the world's sports.

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