Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics by Jeremy Schaap
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Although I enjoyed the book, it's a bit cursory. I would have liked more detail, more depth. Owens and his story are important and I wanted more: more about the man, more about his relationships, in particular with other runners.
It wasn't always clear what Schaap's goal was: was this a biography of Owens? A story just focused on the Owens at the Olympics? A story about the politics and nationalism that threatened to swallow the Olympics? It feels at times a little of all these, and not enough of any one of them.
I didn't like the way the book handled the footnotes, especially on kindle, it was very hard to see what the sources were for conversations and stories Schaap is relating. It wasn't obvious when Schaap was quoting a direct source for the dialogue or 'recreating' it. (This is part of the problem when a journalist writes history.)
Still, the writing is crisp and the narrative style is clear (part of the benefit of having a journalist write history!). If you know nothing of Jesse Owens and or the 36 Olympics, it's a good place to start. (Though I am not sure how much of this qualifies the eponymous "untold story").
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