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"This book is a wonderful ride through the bumpy, often murky world of professional wrestling. Scott Beekman has diligently researched the subject in order to take his readers on a tour of this much misunderstood form of sports entertainment. Though I have spent over 30 years studying the history of professional wrestling, I learned a great deal from this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who has any interest at all in the subject." -- Mike Chapman, Executive Director, International Wrestling Institute and Museum, Newton, Iowa

About the Author

Scott M. Beekman is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Ohio University. He is the author of William Dudley Pelley: A Life in Right-Wing Extremism and the Occult (2005).


"Beekman has written an excellent account of the history of professional wrestling from its origins in ancient civilizations to its current status as entertainment in the US. His meticulous research is evident in the copious documentation. He includes an insightful discussion of the business practices wrestlers and promoters have engaged in to preserve this pseudo-sport and make it one of the US's leading entertainment industries. Like Elliot Gorn's The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America, Beekman's historical view of the rise of professional wrestling looks at how the sport mirrors blue-collar society. Readers may have difficulty--as this reviewer did--keeping track of the names of individuals, organizations, and cartels that pepper this history. The book includes a notes section and a lengthy bibliography. Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers." - Choice
"Beekman sets out to generate some respect for professional wrestling by fully examining the history of the sport in the US. He untangles the myths and legends of professional wrestling without skimping on the entertaining stories and the larger-than-life personalities. He provides a brief account of wrestling's global history before investigating the sport as a specifically American institution, focusing on the business of wrestling as well as the performers and their antics." - Reference & Research Book News
"The book's author--a history professor and not a slavish fan of the sport--begins at the beginning, with a discussion of wrestling's worldwide history and appeal. Then he zeroes in on the U.S., with which pro wrestling has become inextricably linked. It's a story of sportsmanship, ego, celebrity, greed, and rivalry. It's just like any other sports story, in other words, and that's the book's central theme: for all its image problems, pro wrestling is, when you come right down to it, a sport like any other. An eye-opening reappraisal of a much-maligned sport, and (for wrestling fans) perhaps a much-needed vindication." - Booklist
"Beekman's book is thick with historical detail and archival evidence, which makes it a real resource for research into professional wrestling's enduring allure." - TDR: The Drama Review

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