Why is hosting the Olympic Games so important to China? What is the significance of a quintessential symbol of Western civilization taking place in the heart of the Far East? Will the Olympics change China, or will China change the Olympics? Susan Brownell sets the historical and cultural contexts for the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games by placing it within the context of China's hundred-year engagement with the Olympic movement to illuminate what the Games mean to China and what the Beijing Olympic Games will mean for China's relationship with the outside world. Brownell's deeply informed analysis ranges from nineteenth-century orientalism to Cold War politics and post-Cold War "China bashing." Drawing on her more than two decades of engagement in Chinese sports, the author presents evocative stories and first-person accounts to paint a human picture of the passion that many Chinese people feel for the Olympic Games. It will also be essential reading for journalists and sports enthusiasts who want to understand the fascinating story behind the Beijing Olympics.
Susan Brownell is professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has lifelong experience in the world of sports, beginning with her career as a nationally ranked U.S. track-and-field athlete and including her experience as a national champion college athlete in China and an advisor to the International Olympic Committee. To view the author discussing her book at the Virginia Festival of the Book, visit http://charlottesville.granicus.com