American Bodies: Cultural Histories of the Physique

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NYU Press, Dec 1, 1996 - Health & Fitness - 212 pages
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When high school basketball player LeBron James was selected as the top pick in the National Basketball Association draft of 2003, the hopes of a half-million high school basketball players soared. If LeBron could go straight from high school to the NBA, why couldn’t they? Such is the allure of basketball for so many young African American men. Unfortunately, the reality is that their chances of ever playing basketball at the professional, or even college, level are infinitesimal. In Living Through the Hoop, Reuben A. Buford May tells the absorbing story of the hopes and struggles of one high school basketball team.

With a clear passion for the game, May grabs readers with both hands and pulls them onto the hardwood, going under the hoop and inside the locker room. May spent seven seasons as an assistant coach of the Northeast High School Knights in Northeast, Georgia. We meet players like Larique and Pooty Cat, hard-working and energetic young men, willing to play and practice basketball seven days a week and banking on the unlimited promise of the game. And we meet Coach Benson, their unorthodox, out-spoken, and fierce leader, who regularly coached them to winning seasons, twice going to the state tournaments Elite Eight championships.

Beyond the wins and losses, May provides a portrait of the players’ hopes and aspirations, their home lives, and the difficulties they face in living in a poor and urban area — namely, the temptations of drugs and alcohol, violence in their communities, run-ins with the police, and unstable family lives. We learn what it means to become a man when you live in places that define manhood by how tough you can be, how many women you can have, and how much money you can hustle.

May shows the powerful role that the basketball team can play in keeping these kids straight, away from street-life, focused on completing high school, and possibly even attending college. Their stories, and the double-edged sword of hoop dreams, is at the heart of this compelling story about young African American men’s struggle to find their way in an often grim world.

 

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Contents

List of Contributors
7
Reading the Tattoos of Early American Seafarers
18
Cannibalism as a Solution to Maritime Famine c 17501800
32
The Reconstruction of Male Sexuality
46
Feminist SelfFashioning and the Fight for Birth Control
73
Nervous Systems 18801915
86
Henry James and Fletcherism
101
Drive for Life
120
Excess and the Representation of the Male Body in Films
133
A Reading of Some Recent American Fictions
142
Tales of the Body? Problems in Maupins Performative Utopia
152
Octavia E Butlers Xenogenesis Trilogy
170
Mapping and Modelling in Samuel R Delanys Dhaloren
186
The WellRounded Anorexic Text
196
Women Spectators in Boxing Fiction and Film
204
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About the author (1996)

Eileen Wacker's journey to become a children's book author took a circuitous route. She has a deep passion for storytelling and a genuine curiosity about the cultures of the world. She moved with her husband and four children, to Seoul, South Korea, and lived there for four years. The family traveled extensively across Asia, visiting many countries, most frequently China and Japan. Eventually the family settled in Honolulu, but Eileen continued to visit Japan and Korea as her husband was still commuting to Seoul for his job. She is an active educator and blogger writing articles about her passions--parenting, diversity, and technology, for major online and print media. She is a board member of Assets School in Honolulu, a school for gifted students who learn in different ways than mainstream students. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a finance degree and attended Harvard Business School for her MBA. She worked for General Electric for ten years in several countries.

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