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The Courts of Babylon : Dispatches From The Golden Age of Tennis (English Edition)
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The Courts of Babylon : Dispatches From The Golden Age of Tennis (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Peter Bodo

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

No sport has gone through the seismic changes that rocked tennis when the game, long a holdout against professionalism and creeping commercialism, abandoned its roots as a genteel, amateurs-only enterprise and became a pro sport, vying for the heart of the public with rivals like soccer, NFL football, or NBA basketball.

Peter Bodo, who has covered tennis since the dawn of this "Open" era as the chief writer for Tennis magazine, was there to witness this transition and what it promised, what it delivered. He has covered the game on every continent since the early 1970s. The Courts of Babylon is more than a collection of essays, most of them growing out of a deep familiarity and, often, relationship with subjects that include Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, John McEnroe, Evonne Goolangong, Jimmy Connors, Tracy Austin, van Lendl and Martina Navratilova. It is also a commentary on what was lost and what was gained by the transition to professionalism, and how the new, "Open" era delivered - or failed to make good - on the promise that professionalism would make tennis a more inclusive, egalitarian, accessible game.

Relying heavily on formal, in-depth interviews conducted over two decades and his status as an "insider" in an insular game, Bodo's book is both a meditation and expose, a polemic and a tribute to the players who dragged tennis, often kicking and screaming, to the forefront of the public's imagination - even when those players got it all too fast and too young.

Bodo delves into the darkest and most controversial areas of the game, chroniciling the follies of overzealous parents and pampered athletes. He fearlessly wades into sensitive issues stemming from sex and gender, politics and commercialism. He celebrates the game while holding it to task, all the while acknowledging the reality of the demands and distortions that come with a way of life that is both difficult but glamorous, and eagerly embraced by athletes who, in some cases, are no older than fourteen.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 922 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 480 pages
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Illimité
  • Editeur : Diversion Books (10 décembre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0051WJSLY
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°190.446 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5  13 commentaires
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Outstanding history of tennis in the Open era 16 juin 2005
Par Gaetan Lion - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is the best book on this subject. The depth of the sociological analysis of the Open era is unprecedented. The strength of this book is due to Bodo's back and forth dual approach. In one chapter, he will paint a broad and often scathing analytical brush on one aspect of the Open era. He may even focus on the change in character of one Gran Slam tournament (Wimbledon, U.S. Open). But, the very next chapter he will likely focus on one single star and essentially write a biography about them based on his multitude of interviews he had with most of them.

Prior to the Open era, Bodo explains how tennis stood for sportsmanship, ethics, and educated well-rounded personalities catering to a sophisticated public. As a case in point, he mentions the many members of the Australian dynasty in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s who were all models of sportsmanship, and humility. They also did well in their tennis after life. These included legendary names like Laver, Rosewall, Emerson, and Newcomb among many others. On the American side, you had a series of college-educated players with mature personalities, including Dennis Ralston, Arthur Ashe, Charlie Pasarell, Stan Smith, and Bob Lutz. Some of them crossed over the Open era. But, they came from an old guard when tennis and its stars stood for something different than after the Open era.

The Open era officially started in 1968. But, per Bodo it kicked into gear in 1976 with the advent of Bjorn Borg, and Connors. All of a sudden, the game became corrupted by relentless commercialization. The money got so huge that it killed sportsmanship, humility, education, and well roundedness. The college game disappeared. If you are good enough for the pros at 18, forget college. All of a sudden tennis is manufactured as a sensational show that is becoming more like pro mud wrestling than gentlemanly tennis. The stars have become self-adulating, spoiled, uneducated, neurotic, unbalanced millionaire teenagers who will do anything to win a match. Their conduct is symmetrically opposite to the Australian heroes of yesteryears (Laver, Newcomb, etc...). But, the new stars are considered "colorful" and good for Nielsen ratings. The better-adjusted old guard sportsmanship is considered dull and unmarketable. Pete Sampras is a case in point. He was one of the greatest players of all times. He was also among the very few and ultimate sportsman in his era. But, instead of being adulated and emulated he was criticized by the public and ignored by the sponsors as being too dull.

What is really interesting about the mini biographies Bodo writes about the super stars is how unexpected they are. Often, the villains come across so much better once you get to know them better. Connors, Lendl, McEnroe, and Seles all come across as much more balanced, and more interesting than you would expect. They seem much more likeable than their on court persona. Some of their rivalries also make for a fascinating read. On the other hand, everyone's good guy Borg is a pathological Greek tragedy. Of course Borg was an incredible sportsman much like the Australians were. But, he was a monolithic truly dysfunctional character who could not see his place anywhere in the world outside of being number one. Out of all former champions, retirement has been most cruel to Borg because he had nothing to fall back on. He had no side interest, and no life to speak off outside tennis. He made an embarrassing attempt to return to tennis playing with wood racquets in an era of carbon graphite and Teflon. He failed miserably loosing to journeymen.

Bodo's book stops in the early 90s. He acknowledges at the end of the book that the Open era seemed to have turned the corner with a more sportsmanlike young emerging generation of American champions (Chang, Courier, Agassi, and Sampras). The great generation of emerging champions Bodo mentioned all have retired (except for Agassi, and as of this writing he may be months from doing so). They have been replaced by a group of interesting foreigners who may prove ultimately better for the game as the talent is more diversified.

Bodo's book even outclasses a series of excellent books on the same subject, including: "Bad News for McEnroe" by Bill Scanlon, and "Tennis Confidential" by Paul Fein. "You Can't Be Serious" by John McEnroe is in a lesser league because as one can expect it is so much more self-centered than the others. Yet, it is still an excellent and very entertaining book. This tells you how much I have appreciated all these books, and Bodo's above all.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 women's tennis, from Bodo's rich perspective 7 février 2006
Par Mark Eckley - Publié sur
This book was so easy to read- the reader is swept into the intrigue invovlved in the women's professional tennis tour. Peter Bodo is not afraid to ask important questions: should players forgo high school and college to attempt to cash in? What sacrifices are called for to produce a champion? Who controls the money in the women's game?

More importantly, Bodo interviews his subjects and lets the reader understand something of their personalities as well as their approach to tennis.

An exciting, fun book that makes you think.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Best Tennis Book There Is 10 février 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur
Bodo's look at the Open Era of tennis (1968-present) is the best in existence. This book is detailed, probing, funny, and has a historical perspective usually missing from books in this genre. I particularly like his psychological analysis of several famous players. Oh, and Bodo knows his tennis, too, and has interesting things to say about the strengths and weaknesses of many of the game's stars. This is really a cut above almost every other book written about the sport.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Court decision 26 juin 2013
Par Carole - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Dated, but the addition at the end helped somewhat. I would like to have read essays on Agassi even though he entered center court a bit later.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant!! 25 janvier 2013
Par saket waghmode - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I bought this book because it had excellent ratings and it does justice to its reputation. Bodo does a fantastic job of fleshing out the personality of each superstar, and the article on Religion in tennis is very different, to say the least....
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