Grantland and Deadspin correspondent presents a breakthrough examination of the professional wrestling, its history, its fans, and its wider cultural impact that does for the sport what Chuck Klosterman did for heavy metal.
The Squared Circle grows out of David Shoemaker’s writing for Deadspin, where he started the column “Dead Wrestler of the Week” (which boasts over 1 million page views) - a feature on the many wrestling superstars who died too young because of the abuse they subject their bodies to - and his writing for Grantland, where he covers the pro wrestling world, and its place in the pop culture mainstream. Shoemaker’s sportswriting has since struck a nerve with generations of wrestling fans who - like him - grew up worshipping a sport often derided as “fake” in the wider culture. To them, these professional wrestling superstars are not just heroes but an emotional outlet and the lens through which they learned to see the world.
Starting in the early 1900s and exploring the path of pro wrestling in America through the present day, The Squared Circle is the first book to acknowledge both the sport’s broader significance and wrestling fans’ keen intellect and sense of irony. Divided into eras, each section offers a snapshot of the wrestling world, profiles some of the period’s preeminent wrestlers, and the sport’s influence on our broader culture. Through the brawling, bombast, and bloodletting, Shoemaker argues that pro wrestling can teach us about the nature of performance, audience, and, yes, art.
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Good stories, bad editing
- Andrew B
Great Story...Sound Engineering Questionable
The Squared Circle is a solid book from a story perspective, and the writing itself is generally solid and well-researched. It's a great look into the history and modern-day mythology of professional wrestling and, even if you're not even remotely a fan of the sport, is an interesting read.
I actually think R. C. Bray does a very commendable job as a narrator - not sure I would change him out at all.
While the story and writing are solid, keeping the content fresh and interesting throughout - the actual audio of this book is terrible. R. C. Bray does a fine job narrating, but whomever engineered/produced the sound on this should be fired. There are *numerous* obvious audio edits that are very poorly patched in, making it sound more like a mix tape recorded together on an old boom-box vs. a professionally mastered and edited audio book. Definitely should be re-recorded...
- C. Kalmes