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Hitler's Olympics: The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games Hardcover – 22 Jun 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (22 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750942924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750942928
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,011,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Christopher Hilton is a writer and journalist. He has written more than twenty books, including The Wall: The People's Story (Sutton 2001), The Women's War: Voices from September 11 (Sutton, 2002) and Mayflower: The Voyage that Changed the World (Sutton, 2005). He lives in Hertfordshire.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 10 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
There are many books on the subject of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which made it very difficult to choose
which one was best. I eventually settled on Christopher Hiltons version, and am very glad i did as it is a great account of one of the most controversial sporting events of all time. Hilton writes in plain english and offers various perspectives of the event from the fans, politicians and athletes themselves. One thing i found very disturbing was that 1930's America treated its jews and black population with the same predujices as National Socialist Germany at that time. I was also shocked to learn that Avery Brundage, head of the American Olympic Committee was an secret nazi sympathiser, who delibrately dropped Jewish athletes Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller to avoid embarrassing Adolf Hitler, by having two jews win gold medals. This to me is a major sliding doors moment and left me asking the question: what if these two had competed and won gold? Surely this would have dispelled Hitlers myth of Aryan supremacy once and for all? It seems the world missed its chance.It is also interesting to read the observations of foreign fans at the event. Many are quick to point out what a magnificent job the nazis had done of organising the event,and how welcoming they were to everyone, yet others comment of feeling the sinister undertones of a country preparing for war below the surface. Little did they know the ruthless efficiency on show at the games would be the same used to exterminate 11 million people, and wage war on countless others in a mere three years time. The 1936 Games proved to be the calm before the storm. Hilton also gives us an insight into the personalities of the nazi hierarchy, and the pathetic infighting and point scoring between the likes of Goering, Goebbels and Ribbentrop.
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Format: Hardcover
The Berlin Olympics of 1936 was perhaps the first games in which politics played a significant role. For this reason, it is considered to be one of the most controversial Olympic Games of modern times. But it was not just the politics of the Third Reich that cast it's shadow over the Games - other politicial considerations, particularly with regard to racial tensions, both Jewish and Black, made its mark. Surprisingly, the Jewish question was brought to bear on not only the selection of the German team, but also the American, in what must surely be a surprise to most readers. The long running dispute between "amateur" and "professional" athletes also raises its head. Hilton delves into each of these issues and how they came to bear upon the Games. The organization of the Games is also discussed, including Hitler's dominance of the process.

Of course, the Games is not just backroom politics. After all, it is the world's largest sporting event, and the sporting participants and their endeavors come under scrutiny. The star of the Games was undoubtedly Jesse Owens. But Hilton has also thrown the spotlight on other athletic notables, including the lesser lights of the American track and field team, along with Hendrika Mastenbroek, whose efforts in the pool were largely overlooked, despite winning 3 golds. There is passing comment on the gender controversy between Helen Stephens and Stella Walsh, two track athletes competing for Britain and Poland respectively. It is not just the athlete's sporting endeavors that is discussed by Hilton, but also what became of many of them afterwards.

Some aspects of the author's writing is tedious and repetitive: "And that was the seventh day." "And that was the 8th day" etc... which becomes tiresome after a time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A good account of the 1936 Olympic Games 29 Mar 2010
By Jared M - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Berlin Olympics of 1936 was perhaps the first games in which politics played a significant role. For this reason, it is considered to be one of the most controversial Olympic Games of modern times. But it was not just the politics of the Third Reich that cast it's shadow over the Games - other politicial considerations, particularly with regard to racial tensions, both Jewish and Black, made its mark. Surprisingly, the Jewish question was brought to bear on not only the selection of the German team, but also the American, in what must surely be a surprise to most readers. The long running dispute between "amateur" and "professional" athletes also raises its head. Hilton delves into each of these issues and how they came to bear upon the Games. The organization of the Games is also discussed, including Hitler's dominance of the process.

Of course, the Games is not just backroom politics. After all, it is the world's largest sporting event, and the sporting participants and their endeavors come under scrutiny. The star of the Games was undoubtedly Jesse Owens. But Hilton has also thrown the spotlight on other athletic notables, including the lesser lights of the American track and field team, along with Hendrika Mastenbroek, whose efforts in the pool were largely overlooked, despite winning 3 golds. There is passing comment on the gender controversy between Helen Stephens and Stella Walsh, two track athletes competing for Britain and Poland respectively. It is not just the athlete's sporting endeavors that is discussed by Hilton, but also what became of many of them afterwards.

A previous reviewer has commented on the style of the author's writing: "And that was the seventh day." I too found this tedious. Christopher Hilton has almost informal style at times to his writing. While it works for his racing car driver biographies (his books "Ayrton Senna: The Hard Edge of Genuis" and "Alain Prost" are superb) it does not come off so well here. It should have been toned down in my opinion. Nonetheless, this is really a minor bugbear. "Hitler's Olympics" is a good account of the 1936 Berlin Games and is well worth a look for an insight into the personalities, politics and competitive endeavors of one of the most controversial Olympic Games ever. At the conclusion of the book, there is a statistics section, which lists the medal winners of the Games, along with comparisons (where possible) to the 2004 Athens Games. "Hitler's Olympics" also includes an insert of black and white photography.
Good book about the controversial 1936 Olympics 5 Oct 2011
By Joe Owen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Christopher Hilton has done his background on the 1936 Berlin Olympics. What a controversial and fascinating Olympics it was. The author tells of the background of varioius athletes and how the games effected each one of them. These were the Olympics that Adolf Hitler used to highlight the "superiority" of the German athletes. It backfired on him especially when it came to American Jesse Owens. Hilton describes the beginnings of the German Olympic delegations quest to bring the Olympic Games to Berlin and the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that gave them the games. The athletes from all over the world were the pawns in these Olympics. The Jewish athletes is especially the tragic ones in this book. However, the spirit and courage of these athletes make them survive the Games and WWII in general. The book shows photos of the Berlin Olympic Stadium, remarkably it survived the allied bombings of WWII, the Olympic Athlete's village which went into ruin after the Soviets took over their Berlin Zone after WWII. Many of the athletes survived WWII and gave their specific reflections about the 1936 Olympics, fellow athletes, and overall perspective. This is a great book that is highly recommended to those interested in the Olympic Games, Nazi Germany, and just a good story in general.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
GOOD HISTORY BOOK 26 Dec 2012
By chris stephens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
NO MATTER WHAT A MONSTER HITLER WAS. GERMANY DID CHANGE THE WAY THE OLYMPICS OF 1936 WERE FROM THIS TIME ON. WAS A VERY GOOD HISTORY BOOK.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great Book. 28 Jun 2010
By Writer Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very informative and interesting book. If you're into history, you won't be disappointed.
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