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The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling | [David Shoemaker]

The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling

A breakthroughexamination of professional wrestling - its history, its fans, and its widercultural impact - that does for the sport what Chuck Klosterman did for heavymetal

The Squared Circle grows out of David Shoemaker'swriting for both Deadspin, where hestarted the column "Dead Wrestler of the Week" - a feature on the many wrestlingsuperstars who died too young because of the abuse they subjected their bodiesto - and Grantland,where he covers the pro-wrestling world and its place in the pop culturemainstream. Shoemaker's sports writing has since struck a nerve withgenerations of wrestling fans who, like him, grew up worshiping a sport oftenderided as "fake" in the wider culture. To them, these professional wrestlingsuperstars are not just heroes but an emotional outlet and the lens throughwhich they learned to see the world.

Starting in the early 1900s and exploring the path of prowrestling in America through the present day, The Squared Circle is thefirst book to acknowledge both the sport's broader significance and wrestlingfans' keen intellect and sense of irony. Divided into eras, each section offersa snapshot of the wrestling world, profiles some of the period's preeminentwrestlers, and examines the sport's influence on our broader culture. Throughthe brawling, bombast, and bloodletting, Shoemaker argues that pro wrestlingcan teach us about the nature of performance, audience, and, yes, art.

Full of unknown history, humor, and self-deprecatingreminiscence - but also offering a compelling look at the sport's rightful placein pop culture - The Squared Circle is the book that legions of wrestlingfans have been waiting for. In it, Shoemaker teaches us to look past thespandex and body slams to see an art form that can explain the world.

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2013 David Shoemaker (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (111 )
5 star
 (51)
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4.4 (103 )
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4.0 (103 )
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 (47)
3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Anthony 06-21-15
    Anthony 06-21-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good read"

    The reviews that say the recording is poor is very overblown. I almost didn't get the book due to these reviews. Good job over all. A few edits and mispronunciations, but not distracting. There isn't a whole lot of unknown info given for wrestling fans but overall a good cautionary tale of heroes I grew up loving.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Austin Texas, United States 06-12-15
    Jeffrey Austin Texas, United States 06-12-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    113
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    REVIEWS
    62
    62
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    15
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    "Epic, Heartfelt, Tragic, Loving"

    Shoemaker is an ardent fan and equally as critical analyst of an entertainment form that quite frankly is seen by most as clownish, frivolous and not worthy of consideration and yet, the success of present day pro wrestling laughs and points at our hypocrisies saying, "See, I told you so." If all or any fields of human interest and endeavors were written about with such spectacular eloquence and passion as Shoemaker has treated pro wrestling, we would all celebrate. In any case, this book surprised me as few others have. Read it if just to bask in the professional writing, never minding the subject. Yes, the narration was just as good but the recording is somehow technically flawed. Others have pointed this out and it is annoying, but does not detract from an otherwise solemn and serious treatment of the human condition portrayed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay 06-08-15
    Jay 06-08-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    1
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    "Awesome"

    This is good, I liked it a lot. If you're a fan of pro wrestling I'd highly recommend this!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rogue Bagel 04-28-15
    Rogue Bagel 04-28-15 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Story
    "A different take on the business"

    This book was great for exactly what it portends in the preface: it is a history of the business as told through the lives and careers of dead wrestlers. Though it sounds dark, and often times is, it keeps the focus of the book on the true reality of pro wrestling and life (and death) thereafter. Those looking for detailed accounts of the Attitude Era, the Monday Night Wars, or the rise and fall of ECW need look elsewhere; this is an agnostic view of the business as a whole from an impartial observer - not a sterilized, dogmatic piece of propaganda by the current reigning faction. Highly recommended for true historians of pro wrestling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ofdensen 04-21-15
    Ofdensen 04-21-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    "Good book, lackluster recording"

    If you're looking for a book that explores the history of some of the more controversial wrestlers, this is what you want. If you're looking for a good audio recording, this isn't what you want

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Venable Los Angeles, CA United States 04-14-15
    Stephen Venable Los Angeles, CA United States 04-14-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    87
    2
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    "Interesting subject, badly needs an editor"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    In a lot of ways the book is a trip down memory lane for me, so it was worthwhile, but the book badly needs some editing to tie it together.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kolby Shibata-Goodman 03-17-15 Member Since 2011
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    1
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    "Great book, pitiful recording"

    Every time I got enthralled with the story, I got yanked out by a bad and obvious edit or re-record.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Antonio Lopez III FRESNO, CA, US 03-06-15
    Antonio Lopez III FRESNO, CA, US 03-06-15
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    "Great story!"

    Audio doesn't match throughout but the stories make up for it! Highly recommended if you are a fan of the squared circle or not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Coughlin Newark, DE USA 02-24-15
    J. Coughlin Newark, DE USA 02-24-15 Listener Since 2005

    pop culture enthusiast

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    2
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    "Great Writing, Poor Recording"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The recording was marred by very obvious retakes during the narrative and several glaring mispronunciations by the reader.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D.T. 02-06-15
    D.T. 02-06-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "Materiel is good, sound quality horrid"

    If you're a wrestling fan, you'll enjoy hearing about the roots of what we enjoy as pro wrestling.

    This book is well written, and the tales are interesting. Notably missing, though, was Bam Bam Bigelow. (Ultimate Warrior passed after the book.)

    However, I have to say the audio was HORRID. the reader was engaging, but the mixing was terrible. Its very clear when a sentence or sometimes even a word in a sentence was re-recorded.

    A good audiobook should sound smooth, like the narrator sat down and read it in one sitting. At times, this one sounded like it was pieced together by a Stephen Hawking-like computer, and that's really distracting. It's disappointing and does the material a great disservice.

    I'd recommend buying the book and reading this one yourself, it's worth the read, but not the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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