Cover for Rider: Cold War Games: Propaganda, the Olympics, and U.S. Foreign Policy. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

Cold War Games

Propaganda, the Olympics, and U.S. Foreign Policy
Awards and Recognition:

• A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2017

The United States and the Soviet Union vie for the five rings to rule them all

It is the early Cold War. The Soviet Union appears to be in irresistible ascendance and moves to exploit the Olympic Games as a vehicle for promoting international communism. In response, the United States conceives a subtle, far-reaching psychological warfare campaign to blunt the Soviet advance.

Drawing on newly declassified materials and archives, Toby C. Rider chronicles how the U.S. government used the Olympics to promote democracy and its own policy aims during the tense early phase of the Cold War. Rider shows how the government, though constrained by traditions against interference in the Games, eluded detection by cooperating with private groups, including secretly funded émigré organizations bent on liberating their home countries from Soviet control. At the same time, the United States utilized Olympic host cities as launching pads for hyping the American economic and political system. Behind the scenes, meanwhile, the government attempted clandestine manipulation of the International Olympic Committee. Rider also details the campaigns that sent propaganda materials around the globe as the United States mobilized culture in general, and sports in particular, to fight the communist threat.

Deeply researched and boldly argued, Cold War Games recovers an essential chapter in Olympic and postwar history.


"Rider provides an in-depth expose of the considerable value granted to athletic success. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice

"A particularly fascinating piece of diplomatic history."--Diplomat and International Canada

"Impressively researched, including access to recently declassified material . . . Rider's extensive research is presented in a series of compelling and interconnected examples, all of which support and sustain his thesis."--H-Net

"The scholarship is immensely impressive. There is nothing in the literature of the early Cold War that competes with this book. Rider convincingly makes the case for the secret role of the U.S. government in international sports."--Robert Edelman, author of Serious Fun: A History of Spectator Sports in the USSR

"Rider has explored this subject in depth and detail not previously seen in our field. 'No stone unturned' is one thought generated after having read the book. Very impressive."--Stephen Wenn, co-author of Selling the Five Rings: The IOC and the Rise of Olympic Commercialism


Toby C. Rider is an assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton.

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