In this reprint of a classic originally published in 1992, John
Hoberman dissects the modern sports establishments of Europe and
America and shows how a community of mutually dependent interest
groups combine to promote continued scientific experiments despite
futile efforts by Olympic authorities to enforce their sanctions on
those who violate the ban on illicit drugs. Hoberman also reflects
on the future of sport as we enter a new era of unprecedented
developments in genetic engineering and hormonal manipulation, with
important implications for the science of human performance. Great
sport begins where good health ends. Bertolt Brecht. "John Hoberman
has written another magisterial study of sport... a] brilliantly
crafted narrative." ..". I heartily recommend Hoberman's book to
serious students and enthusiasts of sport alike. It is a highly
readable book that treats some of the most salient and delicate
problems that have plagued high-performance sport since its
inception. It is, to put it quite simply, one of the most
intelligent and perceptive analyses of elite sport that I have had
the pleasure of reading." -- William J. Morgan, Journal of the
Philosophy of Sport 19 (1992): 101, 106 "Two previous books by John
Hoberman, Sport and Political Ideology (1984) and The Olympic
Crisis (1986), demonstrated his mastery of the European -- and, to
a lesser degree, the American -- literature relevant to the history
of modern sports. This mastery has enabled him to probe deeply and
insightfully into the instrumentalization of the human body in the
service of sports performance." "Hoberman's splendidly researched
and unusually thoughtful book should be an important contribution
to the public debate of this issue. Will it be read by those who
have the power to influence events?" -- Allen Guttmann,
International Journal of the History of Sport 11 (1994): 516, 517
"Mortal Engines is a horror story. For almost 300 pages John
Hoberman presents the reader with evidence that our view of sports
and athletes and the attitude athletes have about themselves have
become hopelessly and dangerously warped. The lure of money and the
determination to establish national prestige have led trainers,
scientists and doctors to endanger athletes. Sometimes the athletes
have known what was going on, and sometimes they have simply
swallowed what they were told was good for them and then kept their
mouths shut.... "But the remarkable achievement of Mortal Engines
is the extent to which it demonstrates that doped competitors are
not so much freaks, cheats or unfortunate victims as they are the
logical consequence of a dangerous and destructive set of
assumptions which most of us make about our athletes." -- Bill
Littlefield on Morning Edition, National Public Radio (NPR), July
27, 1992 "John Hoberman has written a continually fascinating,
ingenious and well-narrated book about sport, athletes and the use
of science in modern sport from its origins at the end of the
nineteenth century. It is a book that should be read by anyone who
is interested in sports and physiology or, as one might put it,
physiopolitics." -- Mats Gellerfelt, Svenska Dagbladet Stockholm],
February 12, 1994
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