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by Sue Macy

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8050-4147-8
Publisher: Henry Holt

 A celebration of athletes, all of them women, in a book heavy on facts and firsts, and full of black-and-white photographs. Few people know that the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel was a woman; even fewer know that it was a female pitcher who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in one exhibition game in 1931. This riveting book is brimming with stories of such little-known heroines, but also includes dozens of larger-than-life, mostly 20th- century, sports figures: Billie Jean King, Wilma Rudolph, Babe Zaharias, Althea Gibson, Nancy Lopez, Susan Butcher, Martina Navratilova, and others. Macy (A Whole New Ball Game, 1993, etc.) makes clear that most of these women--if not all--faced the hostility and ridicule of the male sports establishment and the press. For example, John Tunis's false statements about the 1928 Olympics 800-meter women's run (``Below us on the cinder path were . . . wretched women, five of whom dropped out before the finish, while five collapsed after reaching the tape'') resulted in the IOC's vote in 1929 to eliminate women's track and field events from future Olympics competitions. The lively text, coupled with the photos, ads, trading cards, and other illustrations, is informative and commanding. (b&w photos, chronology, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12+)