Few things in the Soviet Union worked as well as the country’s hockey team. Winners of seven Olympic gold medals and 19 world titles, the Soviet national team dominated the sport for more than three decades. Not surprisingly, hockey has featured prominently in Vladimir Putin’s Soviet nostalgia. But the president’s use of hockey goes beyond his annual appearance in charity games with old Soviet stars. The sport has become an important part of Putin’s program to restore Russian greatness, both at home and abroad.
Bruce Berglund taught history for two decades at Calvin University and the University of Kansas. He now teaches writing at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and writes history books for kids. A three-time Fulbright scholar, Bruce did research in eight countries for The Fastest Game in the World: Hockey and the Globalization of Sports (University of California Press, 2021). He is also author of Castle and Cathedral in Modern Prague (CEU Press, 2017).
“An astounding history of ice hockey…. For such an ambitious examination of international relationships, The Fastest Game in the World does not slight cultural, political, economic, and social environments. Berglund’s work is more than just a chronicle of the sport.”
Journal of Social History
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