Fight Sports and American Masculinity
Salvation in Violence from 1607 to the Present
About the Book
Throughout America’s past, some men have feared the descent of their gender into effeminacy, and turned their eyes to the ring in hopes of salvation. This work explains how the dominant fight sports in the United States have changed over time in response to broad shifts in American culture and ideals of manhood, and presents a narrative of American history as seen from the bars, gyms, stadiums and living rooms of the heartland. Ordinary Americans were the agents who supported and participated in fight sports and determined its vision of masculinity.
This work counters the economic determinism prevalent in studies of American fight sports, which overemphasize profit as the driving force in the popularization of these sports. The author also disputes previous scholarship’s domestic focus, with an appreciation of how American fight sports are connected to the rest of the world.
About the Author(s)
Christopher David Thrasher
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Introduction: Global Fight Sports from Prehistory to 1607 13
I. “To Cut Out the Tongue or Pull Out the Eyes”: Fight Sports in the Americas, 1607–1810 29
II. “A Boxing We Will Go”: Boxing Takes Root in the United States, 1810–1915 49
III. “With the Energy of a Trip-Hammer and the Vehemence of a Sioux”: Asian Martial Arts Come to the United States, 1850–1941 99
IV. “We Live in Our Heroes”: Boxing Reigns Supreme in the United States, 1915–1941 140
V. “Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting”: Asian Martial Arts Gain Unprecedented Popularity in the United States, 1941–1981 166
VI. “We Shall Not Stand by Helplessly”: The Birth of Mixed Martial Arts, 1981 to the Present 198
Chapter Notes 237
Book Reviews & Awards
“research yields many surprising finds…there is much to learn from this book…recommended”—Choice.