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The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling

David Shoemaker's The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling is a high-level overview of the evolution of wrestling as sports entertainment filled with in-depts reviews of seminal moments and high-profile (and obscure) superstars. Shoemaker's elegant prose reverberates throughout this one, romanticizing the wrestling ring as both a canvass for renaissance artists and jungle gym for overgrown children. Divided into eras and separated into chapters titled after a superstar from said era, the content is interspersed with analyses of extremely complicated topics. Shoemaker's retelling and examination into issues like labor rights, geopolitics, and deaths in wrestling are thought-provoking. I was delighted at the sheer amount of new stories I learned even being so well versed on the idiosyncratic goings on of professional wrestlers. It is difficult to overstate how wonderful a writer Shoemaker is. Every chapter is tied up with a neat little bow, often invoking the same visceral feelings I had as I was living through the career or moment he describes so well. A niche read, but highly recommended, if nothing else, read Shoemaker's book because he basically only does podcasts now (although he did eulogize Brodie Lee in a way only he can.)