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Two books on sport from the social sciences

The Economist magazine ($) briefly notes the arrival of two books: The Economics of Sport: An International Perspective, by Robert Sandy, Peter J. Sloane and Mark S. Rosentraub, and The Meaning of Sports: Why Americans Watch Baseball, Football, and Basketball and What They See When They Do, by Michael Mandelbaum. Here's a snippet:

The authors of “The Economics of Sport” ask their readers to consider the following signs of obsession, and to guess which sport they are describing: athletes' pay running at ten times that of a doctor or a lawyer; promotional symbols and motifs festooning cups, lamps and fans' homes; and huge profits arising from the ownership of the rights to players.

An account of soccer today? Actually, no: it is instead a description of the gladiatorial games of Roman times. In this unusually readable economics tome, the authors offer a reminder that money has never been far from athletic exploits. ...

For readers who can't bear to have their favourite games reduced to mere dollars and cents, Michael Mandelbaum, who usually pens books on weightier matters of foreign policy, offers a scholar's view of the history and sociology of American sport in “The Meaning of Sports”. ... At its best, Mr Mandelbaum's book is an intriguing history of America's spectator sports. Readers who know nothing of the country's peculiar ball games will enjoy the comparison of basketball with European football. Thankfully, the author refrains from indulging in the sort of hagiography that marks so much sports writing, which makes this a great book for educated non-fans and recent initiates to American sports to kick off with.