stage is almost set for the world’s greatest sporting event, the Olympic Games.
As China fends off attacks against its human rights record while battling the
unsightly algae on its beaches, it might be heartened by the thought that a
Pulitzer prize-winning author could one day invest the 2008 Beijing Olympics
with the Homeric significance David
has imbued the 1960 Olympics. In Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World
Maraniss describes the event as a brightly
lit stage where politics and passions played out against a backdrop of rising
feminism, rampant nationalism and racial discontent. There’s even a bit of
espionage thrown in to heighten its cross-genre appeal.
to Maraniss, the 1960 Olympics bred a series of firsts: first African-American
Olympics team captain; first televised Olympics; first company-sponsored
product placement; first major dope scandal. It also offers animated accounts
of some of history’s most memorable athletes, including Ethiopian runner Abebe
Bikila, who ran barefoot through the streets of Rome; American Wilma Rudolph,
whose ability to effortlessly jump hurdles was second only to her capacity for
overcoming obstacles like childhood polio; and a young and feisty Cassius Clay
only four years before he reinvented himself as Muhammad Ali.
book also offers a compelling panorama of the political and social climate of
the late ’50s and early ’60s, running the gamut from Soviet Communism, South
African Apartheid and the divided ideals of East and West
Germany to the emergence of new nations in sub-Saharan Africa. And of course there are the human rights
controversies that dogged China
in 1960 as tenaciously as they do today. Some things never change.
comes to the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Shorewood on July 24 at 7 p.m.
this week, WoodlandPatternBookCenter offers a
modern-day reworking of the illuminated manuscript. Starting July 27, artist Gina Litherland’s original drawings
from Terri Kapsalis’ book The Hysterical Alphabet will be on
display at the Woodland Pattern Gallery. Delving into the annals of medical
lore, Kapsalis’ captions and Litherland’s illustrations present a vivid history
of female ailments. The opening reception takes place on Sunday, July 27, from
1 to 4 p.m., with a performance of the works at 7 p.m. on Aug. 2.