“Steel Chair to the Head” explores the cultural and historical aspects of professional wrestling.
Nicholas Sammond, assistant professor of media and society at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, is the editor of a new book that delves into the spectacle that is modern professional wrestling. Titled “Steel Chair to the Head: The Pleasure and Pain of Professional Wrestling,” the book was published by Duke University Press and is set to be released on March 15.
As much as it is a performance, professional wrestling is a multibillion dollar industry with roots that can be traced back in history to Greek drama. Sammond's collection includes classic examinations of the genre as well as essays examining professional wrestling through the lenses of racial representations, sexual equality and social commentary. Sammond and his collaborators treat the topic with respect, giving professional wrestling the attention usually reserved for more conventional forms of cultural expression.
He is also the author of the forthcoming book “Babes in Tomorrowland: Walt Disney and the Making of the American Child, 1930-1960,” also the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation, to be published by Duke Press later in 2005.
Sammond holds a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University, where he graduated with honors. He also earned his master's and doctoral degrees in communication from the University of California, San Diego. Sammond joined the Colleges faculty in 2003.
A high resolution photo of the book cover is available at http://campus.hws.edu/new/releases/hiRes/sammond_steelchairbk_hres.jpg
The Village Voice (New York, N.Y.) published an article about the book on Jan. 11.