A PASSION FOR VICTORY by Benson Bobrick

A PASSION FOR VICTORY

The Story of the Olympics in Ancient and Early Modern Times
Age Range: 10 - 18

KIRKUS REVIEW

From the first Olympics in 776 B.C. to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, a good portion of world history is told through the lens of sport.

The first Olympics were held in a meadow in Olympia, Greece, to seek favor from the gods. The games always have spawned superstars, and such legends as Milo of Croton, Jim Thorpe, Johnny Weissmuller and Jesse Owens are given their due here. The photo-essay format conveys their stories effectively, as well as the glory, shenanigans and pettiness of the Olympics throughout history. Almost every full-page spread includes at least one photograph, and the text adroitly addresses the cultural context of the games. This is especially effective in the discussion of Jesse Owens, who won four Olympic gold medals in Berlin. Bobrick points out how, despite Hitler’s views on non-Aryans, the German public adored Owens, and Owens could stay at any hotel, eat in any restaurant, and use all public transportation without interference, something he could not do at home in the United States. If the modern Olympics haven’t always succeeded in the original goal of currying the gods’ favor, they have always been, among other things, a grand celebration of the human spirit and the urge to achieve athletic greatness.

A fascinating account of the Olympic Games and their place in history. (chronology, prologue, appendix, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: June 26th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-86869-6
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2012




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