The Olympic Games

The London Olympics begin July 27th.  There are many ways to look at the Olympic movement as a media, social and cultural phenomenon, as well as the largest world-wide athletic event.  Most books about an olympiad are written after it takes place.  At the McLure Education Library, we offer some reading to prepare you for watching the 2012 Olympics.

Helga Visscher, McLure Education Library



A Century of Olympic Posters

A Century of Olympic Posters

A century of Olympic posters, Margaret Timmers.

London : V&A, 2008

GV721.75 .T55 2008 Education Library  (book stacks)

Published in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and amid the increasing hype of London 2012, this book displays the evolving iconography of the modern Olympics, from the 1900 Paris Games to the present day.



 Swifter, higher, stronger: a photographic history of the Summer Olympics,  by Sue Macy ; foreword by Bob Costas. Washington, D.C. : National Geographic, c2008.

Macy, a seasoned writer of sports history for children, opens with background on the games, then turns to broader themes, such as controversies and sportsmanship. Though her approach isn’t strictly chronological, one comes away with a strong sense of how defining Olympian moments can provide a springboard to world history. Macy concludes with almanac-like features, a general note on her research methods, and titles for further reading.

GV721.5 .M25 2008  Education School Library




 Berlin Games : how the Nazis stole the Olympic dream , Guy Walters.

New York : William Morrow, c2006

GV722 1936 .W35 2006  Education Library (book stacks)

In 1936, the Nazis hosted both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games in Germany. The Nazis used the politics of the Olympic Games to glorify the new Germany. Walters depicts how the Nazis hid the discrimination of the Jews, the political oppression of its opponents, the economic misery, and the military domination to give the world a false picture of the new Germany. Walters summarizes the complete details of these Olympics with all the world politics thrown in.



 Beyond the final score : the politics of sport in Asia,  Victor D. Cha

New York : Columbia University Press, c2009

GV649 .C43 2009  Education Library (book stacks)

Beyond the Final Score takes an original look at the 2008 Beijing games within the context of the politics of sport in Asia. Asian athletics are bound up with notions of national identity and nationalism.  For China, the Beijing Games introduced a liberalizing ethos that its authoritative regime could ignore only at its peril.




 Olympic dreams: China and sports, 1895-2008, Guogi Xu

This book is available full-text in ebrary Academic Complete. On Campus or Off Campus Access, CLICK HERE.

Drawing on newly available archival sources to analyze a hundred-year perspective on sports in China, Olympic Dreams explores why the country became obsessed with Western sports at the turn of the twentieth century, and how it relates to China’s search for a national and international identity.



Olympic media : inside the biggest show on television,  Andrew C. Billings.

London; New York : Routledge, 2008.

GV742.3 .B55 2008  Education Library (book stacks)

What Billings has accomplished in his examination of NBCs telecast of the Olympics is remarkable. He offers in-depth observations and analyses of the telecast by focusing on organizational processes, production influences, and viewer perceptions of this cultural (and often political) mega-event.




Watching  the Olympics:  politics, power and representation.  Edited by John Sugden and Alan Tomlinson.

London; New York: Routledge, 2012.

GV721.5 .W33 2012      (book stacks)

With particular focus on the London Games in 2012, the book casts a critical eye over the bidding process, Olympic finance, promises of legacy and development, and the consequences of hosting the Games for the civil rights and liberties of those living in their shadow.