... important ... For a number of the athletes, the authors start by telling their stories beginning in childhood. This can be confusing as the story is told chronologically and jumps from athlete to athlete in a certain part of his or her life and then circles back to an earlier time. The amount of research, however, that went into both projects is impressive, presenting details about how conflicted some athletes were on boycotting the games ... Even though the organization of the book could have been improved, overall it will appeal to readers interested in the history of the Olympics and World War II and might best serve as a companion piece to the documentary.
This is an easy-to-read book, including historical photos, that shines a welcome light on lesser-known Olympians, all of them Black sports heroes who paved the way for future civil-rights gains. Certain to have broad appeal for track-and-field fans as well as readers interested in the history of African Americans in sports.
... should not be read so much as a diatribe against racial inequity, although those evils are clearly outlined, but rather as a lifting up and honoring of a remarkable group of men and women who proudly represented their country despite those inequities. Some of them won medals while others did not, but the character they demonstrated in the face of adversity, and the examples they set, are far more valuable than gold.
... stirring ... The narrative builds to the games themselves, with gripping descriptions of the races and an account of how athletes including Dave Albritton, Cornelius Johnson, and Delos Thurber refused to give the Nazi salute in front of Hitler ... Cutting across disciplines, this stirring remembrance of athletes who have long been overshadowed will resonate with anyone interested in the Olympics or the history of civil rights.
Without neglecting the star runner and long jumper, this companion to a 2016 movie celebrates the other black members of the American team, most of whom competed in track and field events ... The authors describe competitors like 400-meter dash gold medalist Archie Williams in undemanding, present-tense prose well suited to a young adult audience...This approach will hearten booksellers and librarians looking for inspiring, easy-to-read sports books for teenagers, but adult readers may be put off by oversimplified characterizations of Hitler and others ... A decent meal for sports-loving teenagers looking for role models but a thin soup for adults.