C. Nathan Hatton is author of the new book, Thrashing Seasons: Sporting Culture in Manitoba and the Genesis of Prairie Wrestling, which tells the story of wrestling in Manitoba from its earliest documented origins in the eighteenth century, to the Great Depression. In this list, he shares other essential books about the history of the sport in Canada.
Wrestling, particularly professional wrestling, has long been the domain of popular historians. Its colourful past is by-and-large chronicled by journalists, magazine publishers, avid fans, and the wrestlers themselves. Spurred on by the commercial success of Mick Foley’s groundbreaking Have a Nice Day (1999), the twenty-first century has seen an explosion, in particular, of autobiographies and biographies. As any trip to a bookstore will attest, tremendous public interest in professional wrestling exists. Yet, relative to the United States, only a small number of works have been written specifically on Canadian wrestling.
In general, academics have been far more tentative in embracing professional wrestling than the popular scribes. While sociologists and other scholars of contemporary culture have applied their critical gaze, few historians have joined them. Until Thrashing Seasons, none had done so in Can …