... 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.