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Berlin Games: How Hitler Stole the Olympic Dream [Paperback]

Guy Walters
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

12 July 2007

The 1936 Berlin Olympics brought together athletes, politicians, socialites, journalists, soldiers and artists from all over the world. But behind the scenes, they were a dress rehearsal for the horrors of the forthcoming conflict.

Hitler had secretly decided the Games would showcase Nazi prowess and the unwitting athletes became helpless pawns in his sinister political game. Berlin Games explores the machinations of a wide cast of characters, including sexually incontinent Nazis, corrupt Olympic officials, transvestite athletes and the mythic figure of Jesse Owens. By illuminating the dark, controversial recesses of the world's greatest sporting spectacle, Guy Walters throws shocking new light on the whole of Europe's troubled pre-war period.

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Berlin Games: How Hitler Stole the Olympic Dream + The Austerity Olympics: When the Games Came to London in 1948
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (12 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719567742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719567742
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 212,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Guy Walters is the author and editor of nine books, which include four wartime thrillers, the critically acclaimed Berlin Games and his latest work, Hunting Evil. With James Owen he co-edited The Voice of War, an anthology of Second World War memoirs. Shortlisted for the 2006 William Hill Sports Book of the Year and the NASSS's 2007 Outstanding Book award, Guy has been an author since he left The Times of London, where he was a feature writer and a commissioning editor.
His books have been translated into several languages, and Hunting Evil has been and will be released in the UK, the USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Holland, France, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Poland and Romania.
Guy writes for a handful of UK newspapers and magazines, and is a frequent contributor to the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2. He regularly gives talks to societies up and down the country. When he finds the time, Guy is currently working on his PhD at Newcastle University under the supervision of Professor Tim Kirk.
His wife, Annabel Venning, is also an author, and they live in Wiltshire in the southwest of England with their two children, William, 7, and Alice, 5. In his spare time, he is a keen player of croquet and pétanque. Further biographical information (most of it correct) can be found on the wikipedia.

Product Description


Praise for Guy Walter's previous books: (.)

Masterfully crafted and genuinely frightening (Daily Express)

'Gripping' (Daily Telegraph)

'A classic page-turner' (The Times)

'Convincing and intelligent' (Daily Mail)

'Gripping, ingenious ... compelling ... reminiscent of le Carre' (Literary Review)

'Thoroughly readable' (The Spectator)

'Extraordinary' (Sunday Times)

Praise for Berlin Games (.)

A comprehensive account of the events leading up to the games (Observer)

'Amongst several new titles commemorating the Berlin gathering, Walters' is perhaps the definitive account, not only shattering well-entrenched myths... but shedding new light on the numerous dodgy deals struck by the Nazis to ensure the games went ahead as planned.' (Good Book Guide)

'The joy of this book will be the reliving of the 1936 summer Olympics, which Walters evokes with all the cut and dash of an accomplished sports writer' (Literary Review)

'It is a tribute to Guy Walters that the real story continues to shock 70 years on' (Jewish Chronicle)

'A panoramic perspective of the most controversial sporting event of the 20th century... fascinating' (The Times)

'A fascinating, broad canvas that brings into sharp focus the deadlier political games being played at the time' (Metro)

'A superb account of the hijacking of the Olympic Games by the Nazis' (Nick Pitt, The Sunday Times)

Book Description

The compelling history of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games - a cauldron of discord that forecast the horrors of the Second World War

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating slice of history 27 April 2007
Having read all of Guy Walters previous works of fiction, which were centred around World War 2, I was interested to see how he would deal with the facts rather than the fiction. I was not to be disappointed, he had obviously spent a considerable amount of time in meticulous research. The background of the years leading up to the games and how the various countries vetted their teams to prevent upsetting [...] was a real eye opener.

This is not just a sports history book it is a history of a very important part of the prelude to the most significant event of the last 2000 years. How the rest of the world, despite it's protestations, knew precisely what was happening in Germany and chose to ignore it.

If you haven't read anything before on this subject I suggest you start here.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the propagandising of sport 30 July 2007
By Wingate
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
if you were to describe a country as guikty of rascism,anti semetism and outright prejudice in 1935 you would think that this was a fair description of Germany.Well it also neatly fits America at that time.The behaviour of some American sports officials defies belief,as this book highlights the events suurounding the 1936 Olympics.The book is an invaluable insight into the Nazi regime,and everything they did to pull the wool over the eyes of the leaders of democratic countries.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Politics and Sport meet 26 Jun 2008
By Crazy Bald Heid VINE VOICE
Like most people my age I had heard/read/seen snippets about Hitlers Olympics and how Jesse Owens spoilt them with his four medal haul. Thus debunking the myth of Aryan supremacy once and for all.

Walters sets the scene in great detail exploring the political shenanigans and boycott threats prior to the games. I thought this less interesting than the description of the games themselves however this background gave a much needed sense of perspective. The Nazi regimes cynical attempts to prove that Jews were treated civilly and could compete on merit, the odious Avery Brundages machinations within the US Olympic organisation and ultimately the IOC. Walters renders this phoney war in meticulous detail and sets the scene for the events (winter and summer).

The descriptions of the winter games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen which remain very much under the shadow of the Berlin showpiece summer games are incredibly evocative. In some respects proving to be a dry run for the summer games and proving to all that Germany were capable of hosting such events. This also provided "evidence" to apologists and fascists alike that the Nazis were fine civilised fellows.

The main event is undoubtedly the summer games in Berlin, so stage managed by the Nazi administration. The courage of some and the craven herd instinct of others are equally fascinating. Walters is brave enough himself to challenge the notion that Hitler stormed out in disgust at the superhuman performances of "Der Neger" Owens. Walters describes the conditions in the athletes village in great detail and the athletes slightly naive recollections of the overall experience.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
We are heading towards the London games and as this author wrote "how easily the naive worthiness of the Olympics could be corrupted to suit the ambitions of repellant men. It is a lesson that still needs to be learned". Well I am not sure the Olympic Games administration could be labelled naive. Cynical, self-serving perhaps. But Mr Walters is correct. Bugger all has been learned. This is a monster of a book. I am not sure what I expected. I held off buying it, then bought it and held of reading it. Then read it in installments. It is a shameful history of shafting. Team selections (eliminate jews and blacks where ever possible) and the toadying to the Germans and Nazism in particular means swallowing a lot of bile as you read. Allowing for that many people may not have been sufficently informed of the true script of Nazism, bear in mind at this stage there was sufficient information to show they murdered and imprisoned political and moral oppositions without qualm. The olympians (heads of athletics bodies, administrators, political advisers) certainly knew of this. And as these pages reveal far too many of them supported these outrages, even if it was through the complicity of silence. It still resulted in team selections which were shameful and barely a backbone in sight to enforce changes or to consider canning the games when it was apparent it was part of a massive propoganda exercise. Thank goodness for Jesse Owens and others. A damning indicment indeed. Great book, a slog of a read (as noted above) but worth effort and time to plough through every page.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good now. 27 Mar 2012
Come on now. Everyone knows there is some bad blood between my beloved Oranje and the Deutsche volk. It's no accident that we didn't do so well at the Berlin Olympics, with only six gold medals. Putting aside considerations of jingoism, I have been a fan of Guy Walters since many years now, and this book is most excellent, especially when perused in the company of some Panama Red. May I suggest to Guy Walters that his next foray into the field of historical Olympic tomes should be a book about the Amsterdam Olympics of 1928? There was no bad feelings at this Games, because the Oranje had taken the precaution of including some favourite home events such as 4x100m freestyle spliff and Greco-Roman freelove. My great-grandfather, Steffen van Sc'hipt Bellendje, won gold in the men's tandem there with Daan van Dijk. He is one of the foremost Bellendjes in the western hemisphere. Come on now.
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