That’s the trailer for David Maraniss’ new book, “Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World.” If you’re a sports book fan, you might have read his other books, “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi” and “Clemente.” He’s also an associate editor at the Washington Post, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a total bad ass.
I just finished reading an excerpt from his book in the June 2 issue of Sports Illustrated. Maraniss has an interesting thesis. He argues that at the Rome Olympics “forces of change were at work everywhere.”
In sports, culture and politics, interwoven as never before, an old order was dying and new one was being born. The world as we know it today, with all its promise and trouble, was into view.
While I can’t dispute his argument for the 1960 Olympics, I can’t help but think that the 2008 Games in Beijing will be a confluence of radical and divergent forces — political, economic and social. Like 1960 for the late 20th century, 2008 is the “watershed Games” for the 21st century.
It’s no coincidence that this book is coming out this year. Its themes — angst, alienation, controversy, suspicion, perseverance — resonant now. Maraniss (one digression: I was fortunate and lucky enough to see him speak at Poynter last month about the Post’s coverage of Walter Reed) is a PhD student of history. And it’s amazing to see the historical parallels from 48 years ago.
I’ll be picking up his book — once the library gets it in. I know, I’m a cheapskate. But he already got my money when I bought “When Pride Still Mattered.”