Defending the American Way of Life: Sport, Culture, and the Cold War

Defending the American Way of Life: Sport, Culture, and the Cold War


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Winner, 2019 NASSH Book Award, Anthology.

The Cold War was fought in every corner of society, including in the sport and entertainment industries. Recognizing the importance of culture in the battle for hearts and minds, the United States, like the Soviet Union, attempted to win the favor of citizens in nonaligned states through the soft power of sport. Athletes became de facto ambassadors of US interests, their wins and losses serving as emblems of broader efforts to shield American culture—both at home and abroad—against communism.

In Defending the American Way of Life, leading sport historians present new perspectives on high-profile issues in this era of sport history alongside research drawn from previously untapped archival sources to highlight the ways that sports influenced and were influenced by Cold War politics. Surveying the significance of sports in Cold War America through lenses of race, gender, diplomacy, cultural infiltration, anti-communist hysteria, doping, state intervention, and more, this collection illustrates how this conflict remains relevant to US sporting institutions, organizations, and ideologies today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682260760
Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
Publication date: 12/01/2018
Series: Sport, Culture, and Society Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Toby C. Rider is assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton and the author of Cold War Games: Propaganda, the Olympics, and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Kevin B. Witherspoon chairs the Department of History at Lander University. He is the author of Before the Eyes of the Word: Mexico and the 1968 Olympic Games.

Table of Contents


1. Sport and American Cold War Culture
Toby C. Rider & Kevin Witherspoon

The War of Words: Presenting and Contesting America Through Sport

2. Projecting America: Sport and Early U.S. Cold War Propaganda, 1947-1960
Toby C. Rider

3. Millard Lampell: From Football to the Blacklist
Dennis Gildea

Winning the “Right” Way: High Performance, Amateurism, and the American Moral Compass

4. The “Big Arms” Race: Doping and the Cold War Defense of American Exceptionalism
John T. Gleaves & Matthew P. Llewellyn

5. Preserving ‘the American way’: Gerald R. Ford, the President’s Commission on Olympic Sports, and the Fight Against State-Funded Sport in America
Nevada Cooke & Robert K. Barney

Making Men and Defining Women: Femininity, Masculinity, and the Politics of Gender

6. “Wolves in Skirts?”: Sex Testing in Cold War Women’s Sport
Lindsay Parks Pieper

7. America’s Team: The U.S. Women’s National Basketball Team Confronts the Soviets, 1958-1969
Kevin B. Witherspoon

8. To Win One for the Gipper: Football and the Fashioning of a Cold Warrior
Katelyn Aguilar

Addressing the “Achilles Heel”: Race and the Cold War at the Periphery

9.“An Outstanding Representative of America”: Mal Whitfield and America’s Black Sports Ambassadors in Africa
Kevin B. Witherspoon

10. “One of the greatest ambassadors that the United States has ever sent abroad”: Wilma Rudolph, American Athletic Icon for the Cold War and Civil Rights Movement
Cat Ariail

11. Defying the Cultural Boycott: Arthur Ashe, the Anti-apartheid Activist
Damion L. Thomas

Manipulating the Five Rings: Public Diplomacy, Statecraft, and the Olympic Games

12. Sport is Not so Separate from Politics: Diplomatic Manipulation of Germany’s Postwar Return to the Olympic Movement
Heather L. Dichter

13. Sport and American Foreign Policy During the 1960s
Thomas M. Hunt

14. In Defense of a Neoliberal America: Ronald Reagan, Domestic Policy, and the Soviet Boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games
Bradley J. Congelio

Conclusion: A Post- Cold War Perspective

15. Olympic Spectacles in the Next “American Century”: Sport and Nationalism in a Post-Cold War World
Mark Dyreson

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