A Review of: “Michael L. Butterworth, Baseball and Rhetorics of Purity: The National Pastime and American Identity during the War on Terror.”
Southern Communication Journal
Situated in the growing field of sport and rhetoric scholarship, Michael L. Butterworth's insightful new book contextualizes the national pastime within the rhetorical strategies deployed during a crucial moment in American identity. The book's time frame is discretely wrapped around what Butterworth operationalizes as the “war on terror,” from September 11, 2001, to the final day of George W. Bush's presidency. But, while Butterworth stops short of suggesting that Major League Baseball (MLB) or the Bush White House made conscious attempts to manipulate the game of baseball for political purposes, his work intends to show how baseball articulated dominant political discourses that limited democratic pluralism during the war on terror. As such, the material used for the analysis is both extensive and varied, ranging from Butterworth's personal experiences as a critic (stepping back from his own fandom) to discourse from countless sports writers, MLB owners, and executives, as well as the Bush White House. As the book's title suggests, the text is comprised of five case studies—two of which that have been published previously—that offer an incisive study of baseball's linkages with politics, identity, memory, nostalgia, and myth.
Andon, S. (2011). A Review of: “Michael L. Butterworth, Baseball and Rhetorics of Purity: The National Pastime and American Identity during the War on Terror.”. Southern Communication Journal, 76 (3), 264-267. https://doi.org/10.1080/1041794x.2011.574554