“Amidon’s examination of the athlete as Western icon–from violent warrior in ancient times to trending topic in today’s 24/7 entertainment culture–is erudite and entertaining. …Deftly balancing big-picture assessments with particular case studies…Amidon’s treatise will please scholars and spectators alike.” Publisher’s Weekly
“a passionate and lyrical canvas of a pantheon of athletic figures who have become transformed into celebrities, folk heroes and icons…Amidon’s literary prose style energizes his narrative…[he] takes his readers on a fascinating journey…a tight writing style gives his work the pace and precision of a well-engineered novel… a first-class compendium of essays on the history of sport.” Scott A.G.M Crawford, Globe and Mail.
“Amidon’s great contribution is that he doesn’t merely focus on the changes wrought in the idea of the athletic icon; instead he emphasizes continuity…[He] succeeds where many have failed; He’s written a critical history of sports that also captures what exactly attracts us to these games in the first place.” Dave Zirin, Bookforum.
“Here in London, we are planting antiaircraft missiles on residential tower blocks in careful preparation for the Olympics (I’m not even joking), and it’s good to be reminded of the hopeless idiocy of the modern tournament—its tacit endorsement of Nazism in 1936, its reactionary exclusion of women (there was no female fifteen-hundred-meter race until 1972, and no marathon until 1984), its suspension of Tommie Smith and John Carlos for their black-power salute. There are many villains in Something Like the Gods, but if anyone ever made an Olympics movie, John Malkovich would be licking his lips at the meaty roles provided by Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee, or long-serving IOC president Avery Brundage.” Nick Hornby The Believer, July/August 2012
5 Reasons Sports Fans Should Read Something Like the Gods Robert Rossi The Gavel
“Gets one thinking. Who can ask more than that of an author and a book?” Bill Littlefield Only a Game NPR
“Fascinating and lyrical.” NHPR Word of Mouth with Virginia Prescott.
“The History of Going for Gold.” NHPR Word of Mouth with Virginia Prescott.
KERA Think with Krys Boyd
“Nine Inspirational Athletes You’ve Never Heard Of.” Huffington Post
“More than any other cultural figure, Stephen Amidon argues, the athlete captures the imagination, hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations of the average American. “Rappers, rockers, movie stars, politicians, self-help gurus, and talk show hosts all have their own constituencies,” he writes, “but none of them have the ability to stop the world in its tracks like the athlete.”
Amidon’s smartly written and thoroughly researched new book, “Something Like the Gods,” traces the path of the modern athlete from the Greek battlefields to the basketball parquet and, for the next few weeks, to the Olympic compound in London.” T. Rees Shapiro. Washington Post
Barnes and Noble Review. “Stephen Amidon’s lively work of history puts the spotlight on the athlete as a cultural icon. From Roman gladiator to modern savants of the court, the track and the gridiron, the body at play retains the power to inspire. An exploration of the athlete’s evolving role through time and our fascination with the ultimate physical expressions of power and grace.”
“fascinating.” Olivia B. Waxman. Time.
“an intriguing meditation on why the athlete remains such an important cultural figure” Dierdre Wollard, Pursuitist.
“If you’ve ever swung a bat or thrown a ball or screamed your lungs out during a close game, you’ll enjoy this fascinating exploration of the evolution of sport and its hero/athlete who captivates us.” Men’s Health
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