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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
  • 5 Stars
    189
  • 4 Stars
    109
  • 3 Stars
    30
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    117
  • 4 Stars
    106
  • 3 Stars
    60
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    14

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    206
  • 4 Stars
    71
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2
Sort by:
  • 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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best history of its kind

For obvious reasons, the history of "professional wrestling" has been shrouded in secrecy and mixed in with a heavy dose of exaggerations, distortions and sometimes just utter bunk. David Shoemaker takes the best shot so far at peeling away a few layers of myth and gets to the real heart of pro wrestling history. From its 19th century origins in circus freakshows, through the territorial era, and on through Hulkamania and the Attitude Era, Shoemaker asks all the good questions (even if they don't always have satisfying answers). Here's hoping for a sequel sometime soon!

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

Informative

Very informative but yet very depressing :(
History of wrestling the good but mostly the bad

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

Perfect stroll through wrestling history

I was looking for a thorough recap of the history of wrestling and this book is just that. The many territories and constantly changing associations could be confusing but the author did a great job of highlighting the important ones and detailing the evolution of the regional scene into the national scene.

He also spends a short amount of time honoring the most known wrestlers who have died. One perspective is that it can cast a shadow over the sport but another view is that in many performance genres, people die. Music is best example. And just like music, I personally choose to enjoy what they produced when they were alive and accept their death.

It was so interesting to learn about how prominent some of the early WWF stars were before they showed up on Wrestlemania 1. I didn’t realize how long some careers were before that time. I’m 35 and to me, it all started with Wrestlemania 1 but..that is far from the case here.

The book flows and never felt boring.

Awesome.

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

great book

it was a great book, the editing was a little iffy, but I highly recommend to any old school wrestling fan

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Um, okay.

Leaves out many wrestlers claiming to be writing all about dead wrestlers despite not doing so, slightly homophobic, flowery language but also an interesting perspective of a wrestling fan trying to be unbiased.