Glory Days: The Summer of 1984 and the 90 Days That Changed Sports and Culture Forever

Houghton Harcourt. Jun. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781328637246. $27. SPORTS
In the middle of the over-the-top 1980s, a span of 90 days in the summer of 1984 changed the course of American history, writes journalist Wertheim (Sports Illustrated). Far from the bleak imaginings of George Orwell, Wertheim describes 1984 as a year when popular music, computers, blockbuster movies, pro sports, and red-white-and-blue patriotism were foremost in the American consciousness. He has compiled a fascinating and well-researched history of those three summer months when, he writes, the United States went from “black-and-white to Technicolor with Dolby sound.” The landmark events described here include the star-spangled Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the peak of Michael Jackson’s fame, the emergence of ESPN and Macintosh’s personal computer, and Michael Jordan’s entry into the NBA, among others. Wertheim makes a convincing (and highly entertaining) case that the summer of 1984 was the jumping-off point for the omnipresence of technology, culture of celebrity, and the increasing commercialization of sports in the U.S. today.
VERDICT Historians, sports fans, and any readers interested in American culture will find this a fascinating look at three months with lasting implications. A thought-provoking and recommended choice for all public library collections.
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