Since the nineteenth century the USA has served as an international model for business, lifestyle and sporting success. Yet whilst the language of sport seems to be universal, American sports culture remains highly distinctive. Why is this so? How should we understand American sport? What can we learn about America by analyzing its sports culture? Understanding American Sports offers discussion and critical analysis of the everyday sporting and leisure activities of 'ordinary' Americans as well as the 'big three' (football, baseball, basketball), and elite sports heroes. Throughout the book, the development of American sport is linked to political, social, gender and economic issues, as well as the orientations and cultures of the multilayered American society with its manifold regional, ethnic, social, and gendered diversities. Topics covered include: american college sports the influence of immigrant populations the unique status of American football the emergence of women's sport in the USA.