Olympic Pride, American Prejudice

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

When it comes to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Jesse Owens was the black athlete who got the most attention. In Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper and writer Travis Thrasher tell the story of the seventeen other black athletes who competed on the American team alongside Owens. Consider it Hidden Figures, only with stopwatches, medals, and blistering speed. The authors weave the lives and hardships of these individuals together, culminating in a story that has them wondering whether to boycott representing a country that has treated them as second-class in another country that was grappling with similar hatreds. Ultimately they decide to compete and show the world what they can do as teammates. Owens may have won four trophies, but the rest won ten more, and this story brings that little-known fact to light. It's an inspiring tale, told against a backdrop of Jim Crow, The Great Migration, The Great Depression, and the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany, and it's written in a way that would appeal as much to YA readers as it would to all manner of history buffs.
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I love Olympic games history but had never heard of this story before and found it incredibly interesting, I can't wait to read more on this subject
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This book left me in tears as I read the stories of African American athletes; I did not know competed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics because the main person we know about is Jesse Owens.

I am so happy the authors wrote this book that gives the reader the background and challenges of the 17 “lesser” known athletes who won 10 medals. We always knew about Jesse Owens 4 gold medals, so it is wonderful to learn of these courageous athletes also.

Filled with the backdrop of that historical event, this book is a must to add to your black history library. Young adults or anyone interested in sports will enjoy this read. Very well written, and I highly recommend it.
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This is a book I added to my (off-site) must-read list as soon as I heard about it. I had an opportunity to watch the documentary, but at 90 minutes the documentary wasn't able to go into the depth that the book accomplished.

I found myself wanting to cheer with each victory and was saddened when hard-earned opportunities were taken away (particularly Tidye Pickett's and Louise Stokes' positions on the 1932 Olympic 4x100m relay team, where they were allowed to travel to the games and then were replaced right before the competition) or the final results were adjusted so that the Black athletes weren't properly awarded honors for their efforts.

Upon release, a copy of this book will be on my bookshelf. Highly recommended!

I received a copy from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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The good: Many people are familiar with Jesse Owens's historic records at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. However, there were 18 other African-American athletes who overcame enormous obstacles in order to make Team USA and compete at the Olympics. Their stories are fascinating and unforgettable. This is written in present tense, which may or may not annoy some readers (I didn't mind.)

The bad: Absolutely no research notes, indices, or any citations of interviews, books, articles, or other reference materials consulted. The authors ascribe internal thoughts to the athletes (and minor specific actions) that, unless the athletes mentioned those exact thoughts, are likely creative licenses. Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing. A real shame. I was so looking forward to this book, but am dismayed at the lack of any back matter that is routine for nonfiction. The summary says "drawing on over five years of research"--is the ARC just missing it (I primarily read nonfiction ARCs, and I regularly see the back matter). 

Many thanks to Atria Books and Netgalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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