Synopses & Reviews
A timely, no-holds barred, critical political history of the modern Olympic Games
The Olympics have a checkered, sometimes scandalous, political history. Jules Boykoff, a former US Olympic team member, takes readers from the event’s nineteenth-century origins, through the Games’ flirtation with Fascism, and into the contemporary era of corporate control. Along the way he recounts vibrant alt-Olympic movements, such as the Workers’ Games and Women’s Games of the 1920s and 1930s as well as athlete-activists and political movements that stood up to challenge the Olympic machine.
"Enjoyable and informative, Power Games is an even more relevant read in the build-up to this summer’s first-ever Latin American Olympics." Morning Star
"Jules Boykoff, arguably the world’s leading authority on the Olympic Games, skillfully details how the Olympics benefit political elites and corporate interests at the expense of host cities and even democracy itself. But this is no pessimistic account. Boykoff ends by outlining how a more democratic and transparent Olympics is still possible." Ben Carrington, University of Texas at Austin, author of Race, Sport and Politics
"Jules Boykoff takes us deep into the heart of the Olympic industry to look at the experiences of the people most affected by the Games – you and me. Power Games chronicles a wide range of resistance efforts, including Indigenous people who have struggled to defend their lands and rights against the Olympic juggernaut, showing us how all of our interests are intertwined. A must read." Janice Forsyth, former Director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at Western University in Ontario, member of the Fisher River Cree First Nation
"A great irony is that the modern Olympics, first envisioned as an alternative to war, have themselves become a form of low-intensity warfare. As Jules Boykoff chronicles in this pathbreaking history, host cities have used the Games to leverage urban renewal, neighborhood demolition, and mass population displacement. The preparations for the Rio Olympics have gone one step further and become a literal urban counterinsurgency, as elite police units occupy and ‘cleanse’ one favela after another." Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums
"Jules Boykoff tells an Olympic history that simply hasn't been told. If we are going to have a more just future, we need to have an honest accounting of the past. Thank you Jules, for setting it straight and being right on time." Dr. John Carlos, (1968 Olympic medal winner)
About the Author
Jules Boykoff is the author of Activism and the Olympics, Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games, Landscapes of Dissent, and Beyond Bullets: The Suppression of Dissent in the United States, among others. He is a professor of politics and government at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.