The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad Audiobook, by Robert Elias Play Audiobook Sample

The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad Audiobook

The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad Audiobook, by Robert Elias Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: William Hughes Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 10.00 hours at 1.5x Speed 7.50 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: November 2010 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781483066851

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

115:37 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

07:43 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

64:30 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Robert Elias: > View All...

Publisher Description

"It's our game…America's game: it has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere—belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly as our Constitution's laws, [and] is just as important in the sum total of our historic life."—Walt Whitman on baseball

Is the face of American baseball throughout the world that of goodwill ambassador or ugly American? Has baseball crafted its own image or instead been at the mercy of broader forces shaping our society and the globe? The Empire Strikes Out gives us the sweeping story of how baseball and America are intertwined in the export of "the American way."

From the Civil War to George W. Bush and the Iraq War, we see baseball's role in developing the American empire, first at home and then beyond our shores. And from Albert Spalding and baseball's first World Tour to Bud Selig and the World Baseball Classic, we witness the globalization of America's national pastime and baseball's role in spreading the American dream. Besides describing baseball's frequent and often surprising connections to America's presence around the world, Elias assesses the effects of this relationship both on our foreign policies and on the sport itself and asks whether baseball can play a positive role or only reinforce America's dominance around the globe. Like Franklin Foer in How Soccer Explains the World, Elias is driven by compelling stories, unusual events, and unique individuals. His seamless integration of original research and compelling analysis makes this a baseball book that's about more than just sports.

Mixing sharp political analysis and compelling lore, this is an eye-opening look at baseball's relationship to the American empire, from the revolutionary era to the present.

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"A fascinating book that gives a much needed look at the global politics of baseball. At times it gets a little repetitive and a few didactic moments where the author breaks out of his "neutral" tone, but overall a must read for any baseball scholar or fan."

— Kristin (4 out of 5 stars)


  • “The Empire Strikes Out is a rare and wonderful combination of splendid scholarship and lively writing. Robert Elias’ affection for baseball illuminates its pages, even when he is unearthing episodes of organized baseball’s racism, jingoism, unbridled militarism, and insensitivity to other cultures. Simultaneously, and gracefully, the book describes the development of baseball and its impact overseas as a sort of quasi instrument of American foreign policy…A truly fine work. Highly recommended.”

    — Roger Kahn, author of The Boys of Summer
  • “An intriguing look at the game of politics and diamond diplomacy…The wealth of neat gems [in The Empire Strikes Out] provide a fresh perspective from many unique angles.”

    — Sporting News
  • “Elias has written both fiction and nonfiction about baseball and his love for the game shines through. But he also doesn’t hold back (or maybe steps up to the plate?), indicting America’s pastime for aligning itself with political conservatives and the military, and becoming a tool for globalization. He tells a compelling story made more vivid by thorough research and authoritative writing.”

    — Associated Press
  • “Good stories and nimble prose along with original research…and shrewd analysis and appropriate historical revision—this book hits it out of the park.”

    — Morning News
  • “The Empire Strikes Out isn’t your typical baseball history, chock full of stats and charming anecdotes about baseball’s greats, although it does have some of both. But Robert Elias’ mission in writing it is to show American foreign policy’s effect on baseball and the reverse as well.”

    — History Wire
  • “Refreshing stuff…exceptionally ambitious.”

    — Bill Littlefield, host of Only a Game, WBUR Public Radio, Boston
  • “The Empire Strikes Out is, without question, a masterful piece of research and writing. Elias has been able to bring first rate insight and analysis into an area—baseball and foreign policy—that has never really been adequately covered. I was equally impressed by the quality and depth of research…Baseball history has a new mentor.”

    — George McGlynn, author of Dynamics of Fitness, Cross Training for Sports
  • “Sports have always been ripe for exploitation by those who would pump the politics of militarism through play. No one has ever broken down the history of this process in baseball like Robert Elias. The Empire Strikes Out should be required reading for anyone who considers themselves a baseball fan, or for anyone who has questioned the military misadventures of the past decade. It is an unqualified triumph.”

    — Dave Zirin, author of A People's History of Sports in the United States 
  • “Lively and provocative, this is the ‘big picture’ look at the entangled, and sometimes nefarious, relationship between our national pastime and US foreign policy. Well crafted, it is, at once, nuanced, imaginative, and provocative. Robert Elias provides a riveting account of how our national pastime has been part and parcel of American diplomacy, militarism, and globalization. This is the definitive account of how baseball has been used to sell and export the American dream.”

    — George Gmelch, author of Baseball without Borders
  • “Elias’ thought-provoking book traces the intertwined history of American imperialism and organized baseball. The author spends most of his time on recent history—the Cold War and its aftermath. It’s hard to tell if Elias is angrier at major league baseball—for steroids, segregation, and the reserve clause—or at American imperialism—for invading almost every country in Central America, bombing innocent people around the world, and encouraging baseball in its wake. In the end, he sees redemption in baseball, not in empire. William Hughes’ clear tenor makes it all come to life, from the arrogance of Commissioner of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis to the arrogance of President George W. Bush. Hughes tells the story without drama or accents—just the text, well presented.”

    — AudioFile

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About Robert Elias

Robert Elias teaches law and politics at the University of San Francisco. He is the author and editor of numerous books including Baseball and the American Dream and The Deadly Tools of Ignorance. He lives in Mill Valley, California.

About William Hughes

William Hughes is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. A professor of political science at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, he received his doctorate in American politics from the University of California at Davis. He has done voice-over work for radio and film and is also an accomplished jazz guitarist.