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The Squared Circle

Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling
Narrated by: R. C. Bray
Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (379 ratings)

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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    214
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    121
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    33
  • 2 Stars
    8
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    3

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    140
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    113
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    65
  • 2 Stars
    19
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    14

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good stories, bad editing

While I question the order these stories are told in they are all interesting, important stories about the history of wrestling. However the editing of the audio book leaves something to be desired. You can clearly tell when they had to edit together multiple takes which is a bit distracting.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story...Sound Engineering Questionable

Where does The Squared Circle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of R. C. Bray?

I actually think R. C. Bray does a very commendable job as a narrator - not sure I would change him out at all.

Any additional comments?

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...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Maj book, Repug recording.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Squared Circle to be better than the print version?

I really liked this book, but the piss poor editing of the audio can really take you out of it. additionally, the narrator is clearly a good older than the author, which makes some of the autobiographical details in the book sound extra strange, but that's just being knit picky. Truly awful sound quality though. This thing is audiobook adjace.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Solid collection/terrible audio

I love Mr. Shoemaker's work. I've followed his work since the early Deadspin days and was excited to see a collection of his work. It more than holds up it's end of the bargain and is a growing look into the history of pro wrestling as a whole and the lives of it's legendary (and not so legendary) performers.

That being said, both the recording and performance of this book left a lot to be desired. The audio changes noticeably and constantly. It's almost like a few different narrators are taking turns reading the manuscript at the best times and several different narrators are taking turns reading the same sentence at the worst.

The narrator also mispronounces several of the names and terms familiar to wrestling fans (Ole Anderson is pronounced 'Ol' throughout for instance) throughout the book. It gives the whole thing a very slapdash feel.

Still, the work as a whole is gripping and the actual content of the story is top notch.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent book with poor narration.

A fascinating book that covers some of the history of wrestling. It focuses on many of the legends lost and the reasons why. I found it a very respectively told story despite the tragedy involved.

The narration for the audio book is awful. Audio quality fluctuates when it sounds like sections were updated to correct errors. On top of that the book is still full of mistakes where the narrator clearly misspoke or mispronounced a word and the error was just left in. I would recommend reading the book over listening to the poorly recorded garbage.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Told very well, but a little light on information.

Nice, but I feel a deep dive on wikipedia would have gotten me the same.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • St Louis, MO United States
  • 06-23-19

Audio makes for unpleasant experience


Good information...audio engineering is questionable. Disrupts the flow of story...I'd probably buy the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read (or listen) for a wrestling fan

This is probably the best professional wrestling book ever. I don’t say that lightly. It is well written, well researched and overall one of the best books out there about the art form.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic!

A riveting and refreshingly intelligent history of professional wrestling! The narrator is superb! Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

RC BRAY

Bray is the best audiologist (word? who knows) out there. Dont believe me, then listen to The Martian, so good.
Author, the Maker of Shoes, did an amazing amount of research for this book. As a come and go wrestling fan, Davis(some will get the misspelling) Shoemaker can tell a damn good story. But he does it over and over again. It feels like every chapter is a 30 for 30 special on espn.