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Triumph : the untold story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics
Jeremy Schaap
Adult Nonfiction GV697.O9 S33 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Written as though the film treatment were already completed, Schaap's chronicle of Jesse Owens's journey to and glorious triumph at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is snappy and dramatic, with an eye for the rousing climax, through curiously slight on follow-through. Starting with Owens as the well-feted ex-athlete in the 1950s, Schaap (an ESPN anchor and author of Cinderella Man) flashes back to Owens's childhood in 1920s Cleveland, where junior high coach Charles Riley spotted his astounding physique and near limitless potential for track and field. Owens seems so perfectly made for running and jumping that the following years of ever-increasing athletic and popular success are less exciting than preordained. By the time the "Ebony Antelope" (as one of many adoring newspapermen had anointed him) was ready for Berlin, his success was practically guaranteed. The real drama of Schaap's book, which surprisingly skimps on Owens the person, comes in the politically fractious runup to Berlin (for the ceremony-obsessed Hitler, "a fascist fantasy come true"). While the story has been told many times, Schaap makes good use of his prodigious research and access to the Owens family, even digging up the fact that Owens's oft-repeated claim he was snubbed by Hitler and the Berlin crowd was very likely untrue. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

These books approach the 1936 Berlin summer Olympics-Hitler's Olympics-in very different ways. The 1936 games have taken on mythical proportions beyond mere sports history. In front of Hitler, and Leni Riefenstahl's documentary camera, Jesse Owens won four gold medals. Large (history, Montana State Univ.; Berlin) chronicles the Berlin games, from the city's being awarded the games, to international efforts to boycott them (boycotts and other sanctions were considered internationally, but ultimately only one country stayed away), to their lingering effects on the tragic Munich Olympics of 1972. With its huge facilities, ornate ceremonies (the first to include the torch relay), and related cultural activities, the Berlin games shaped the Olympics into the huge spectacle that they are today. This is a very detailed and well-crafted book, a pleasure to read. With Triumph, Schaap (ESPN; Cinderella Man) has written the definitive biography of Jesse Owens, considered by some to be the greatest Olympian ever. While touching more briefly on Owens's life before and after 1936, including his Alabama childhood and his later work for the State of Illinois, Schaap rightly focuses on Owens's track and field heroics. Blessed with remarkable speed, he set NCAA and Olympic records in numerous events. Afraid of being unable to support his family, he often allowed others to make decisions and take positions for him that he himself did not support. He deflected accusations that Hitler snubbed him at the Olympics, insisting that he saw a small wave from the German leader. He hoped his fame would allow him to make a living after the 1936 games, but he was wrong. Schaap's book will be in demand in most public libraries. Both books are essential for academic libraries collecting sports biographies and the history of sport. [For Schaap's book, see Prepub Alert, LJ 7/06.]-Todd Spires, Bradley Univ. Lib., Peoria, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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