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Publisher's Summary

In 1936, against a backdrop of swastikas flying and storm troopers looming, an African-American son of sharecroppers set three world records and won an unprecedented four gold medals, single-handedly crushing Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy. The story of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympic Games is that of a high-profile athlete giving a performance that transcends sports. But it is also the intimate and complex tale of the courage of one remarkable man.Drawing on unprecedented access to the Owens family, previously unpublished interviews, and exhaustive archival research, Jeremy Schaap transports us to Nazi Germany to weave this dramatic tale. From the start, American participation in the games was controversial. A boycott, based on reports of Nazi hostility to Jews, was afoot, but it was thwarted by the president of the American Olympic Committee. At the games themselves, the plots and intrigues continued: Owens was befriended by a German rival, broad jumper Luz Long, who helped Owens win the gold medal at his own expense. Two Jewish sprinters were, at the last moment, denied the chance to compete for the United States out of misguided politeness to the Nazi hosts. And a myth was born that Hitler himself had snubbed Owens. Like Neal Bascomb's The Perfect Mile, Triumph captures this momentous episode in sports - and - world, history in a nuanced yet page-turning narrative full of drama, suspense, and color.
©2007 Jeremy Schaap; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Snappy and dramatic, with an eye for the rousing climax....Schaap makes good use of his prodigious research." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Andy on 04-26-07

race headwinds

This book was a great history of not only Jesse Owens, but how African Americans lived in the years just before World War II. The author does a great job of taking us right into the Olympics in Berlin. It provides a close up view on what is is like to be a member of a minority group in the run up to world class competition.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Scott on 02-03-09

What an amazing athlete

I learned much about Jesse Owens as an athlete and a man. Good pace and narrator. Definitely worth a listen.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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