Olympic Affair: A Novel of Hitler's Siren and America's Hero [NOOK Book]

Overview

Although not a member of the National Socialist Party, Leni Riefenstahl was the film-maker darling of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler. First a successful dancer and actress in Germany, she became more notorious when she produced and directed Victory of Faith and Triumph of the Will, the chilling documentaries about Nazi Party congresses at Nuremberg.
Glenn Morris was an All-American farm boy from tiny Simla, Colorado, as well as a former college football star and student body ...
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Olympic Affair: A Novel of Hitler's Siren and America's Hero

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Overview

Although not a member of the National Socialist Party, Leni Riefenstahl was the film-maker darling of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler. First a successful dancer and actress in Germany, she became more notorious when she produced and directed Victory of Faith and Triumph of the Will, the chilling documentaries about Nazi Party congresses at Nuremberg.
Glenn Morris was an All-American farm boy from tiny Simla, Colorado, as well as a former college football star and student body president at the school now known as Colorado State University. At the 1936 Olympics, he won the decathlon, earning him the label “the world’s greatest athlete.” Among the American heroes at the Berlin Games, he was considered second only to Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals.
Riefenstahl and Morris: An unlikely couple? Perhaps, but in her 1987 memoirs, the German filmmaker belatedly confirmed she had an affair with the American athlete during the filming of Olympia, Riefenstahl’s documentary about the Berlin Games. In fact, she portrayed it as much more than a dalliance, saying that she had dreamed of marrying Morris and that he broke her heart. Morris, who went on to Hollywood, the National Football League, and military service, spoke sparingly of the relationship, but mused late in life that he "should have stayed in Germany with Leni.”
In Olympic Affair, author Terry Frei turns to historical fiction in a novel researched in much the same fashion as his widely praised works of non-fiction, including Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming and Third Down and a War to Go. Using deduction, imagination and narrative skill to augment documented fact (as well as debunk myths parroted for many years), Frei tells the story of their ill-fated affair…and beyond.

Read the first chapter of Olympic Affair here.
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Editorial Reviews

Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
[A] fascinating piece of historical fiction based on a true story . . .
Salt Lake Tribune
In a world marching toward inevitable war, small-town boy Glenn Morris goes to Berlin in search of a gold medal at Hitler's Olympics—he finds much more. Olympic Affair author Terry Frei masterfully guides us through Morris' exhilarating, heartbreaking journey in a finely-detailed novel about sport, history, politics and a taboo love affair which forever changed the life of the world's greatest athlete. I couldn't put it down.
Richard C. Haney
Olympic sports, an international romance, and world politics on the eve of World War II collide in the electrifying Olympic Affair....This meticulously researched and historically accurate novel is illuminated with plausible fictional dialog, using the same readable approach as Alex Haley's Roots and Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace....Olympic Affair is simultaneously fun, informative, and thought-provoking.
Terry Kay
...a compelling look at an historic sporting event and a love/sex scandal cloaked in intrigue and danger. Frei’s style is reporter/novelist, cleanly balanced between event and character, offering a panorama of human triumph saddened by failure. Of the books I’ve read in the past four or five years, this one is near the top of the list.
Neal Rubin
History tells us that decathlon champion Glenn Morris and Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl had an affair at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. In hisriveting and richly researched novel, Terry Frei tells us what might well have happened between them, what was happening around them, and what it all might have meant had things ended a bit differently.
David Milofsky
[Frei] succeeds brilliantly. His research is impeccable and names are not changed to protect the guilty….This is history as historians seldom write it and should be required reading for everyone. Highly recommended.
Thomas W. Zeiler
In a sad but revealing tale of history, heartbreak, and hometown heroes, Terry Frei has captured an era through a searing tale that leaves [the reader] convinced that the fiction surrounding a story that actually happened is really true. It is movingly written; you won’t put this one down!
Dwight Jaynes
. . . Frei has an incredible knack for writing compelling books about subject[s] nobody [has] thought about writing. His Horns, Hogs and Nixon Coming was a terrific example of that but Olympic Affair is even better. . . . [It] is written with care and sensitivity and works on several levels—not only as straight entertainment but as a history refresher on what the world was like during that explosive time.
John Hirn
Glenn Morris is a legend at Colorado State University, and the dialogue Frei gives to the great athlete in Olympic Affair makes him come to life. After decades of hearing the stories about Glenn Morris, the reader comes to know the man who came from Simla, Colorado, trained at Colorado's small agricultural college and gained fame in Berlin during the 1936 Olympics. The affair [between] Morris and Riefenstahl has intrigued historians for many years and Frei finally sheds light on a story that the finest Hollywood writers could only dream to imagine.
Ron Flatter
How does a wide-eyed, college kid from rural Colorado wind up becoming a player in the rise of Nazi Germany before World War II? Simple. All Glenn Morris had to do was set a world record in the decathlon; go to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and, on his way to winning a gold medal, fall in love with a beautiful genius of a woman in Hitler's inner circle. We know all this to have actually happened, but Morris's affair with Leni Riefenstahl left many questions still unresolved more than three-quarters of a century later. Terry Frei not only poses credible answers in Olympic Affair, he writes them into a marvelous, chronologically told story that weaves lives and paths in a way that has the reader eager to see how they will unfold day after day, page after page. It is that rare volume that mixes history, politics, sport, racism, religion and romance in a didactic way that entertains rather than lectures. If Frei's book is made into a screenplay, the movie stardom that Riefenstahl promised Morris might finally become a reality.
Mike Brohard
The hard part about historical fiction is taking the truth and providing a background story that is plausible and believable, and Terry Frei does exactly that in Olympic Affair. The story of Glenn Morris and Leni Riefenstahl flows from the start, painting the landscape of the world around them and how it ultimately affected the outcome of the couple, and eventually, the individuals involved. As it all unfolds, it becomes clear Frei let his research lead him to all the right conclusions. When reading historical fiction, one wants to be able to believe the story really could have played out in such a manner, and in Olympic Affair, Frei takes his readers down that very path.
Peter Boyles
This book knocked me out. I couldn't put it down. It's a wonderful read.
The Fort Collins Coloradoan - Kelly Lyell
Terry Frei’s unique writing style . . . bring[s] to life an incredible story about one of the most unique sports figures ever to come out of Colorado. While winning an Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, Morris, a farm boy from Simla, CO, also was having an affair with the Olympic filmmaker who had glorified Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in earlier documentaries. Frei connects the dots in a way that is both believable and entertaining. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, Olympic Affair is a great read.
The Midwest Book Review
Romance often blooms in the most bizarre of places. Olympic Affair is a historical novel delving into a potential and unusual coupling, drawing much from history and personal memoirs of German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Riefenstahl, famed and infamous for her connections to the Nazi party, is rumored to have had an affair with an American athlete. Through fiction, Terry Frei explores such a circumstance, naming the athlete as Jesse Owen's peer Glenn Morris. Olympic Affair is an unusual yet riveting read of historical fiction and romance, much recommended.
Philadelphia Review of Books
The combination of the diligent research techniques . . . and creativity makes Olympic Affair a success as both a stand-alone novel and historical fiction. . . . Olympic Affair offers a chronicle that proves why athletic drama often goes well beyond the field (or track) of competition. An athletic controversy, a triumph against adversity or a love affair can bring together the fanatics, the casual followers and those who just happen to appreciate a good yarn, no matter the origin. And who better to tell a story of that kind than an acclaimed sportswriter and non-fiction author turned novelist?
Steve Chavis
An amazing read.
CSUrams.com
. . . [T]urns a story of history into the kind of story only Hollywood could dream up for their next Charlize Theron blockbuster.
Midwest Book Review
Romance often blooms in the most bizarre of places. "Olympic Affair" is a historical novel delving into a potential and unusual coupling, drawing much from history and personal memoirs of German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Riefenstahl, famed and infamous for her connections to the Nazi party, is rumored to have had an affair with an American athlete. Through fiction, Terry Frei explores such a circumstance, naming the athlete as Jesse Owen's peer Glenn Morris. "Olympic Affair" is an unusual yet riveting read of historical fiction and romance, much recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589796997
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/14/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 515,185
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Award-winning journalist, author, and screenwriter Terry Frei is in his second stint with the Denver Post. A native of Oregon, he has also written for the (Portland) Oregonian and the Sporting News, and for eight years was a featured columnist on ESPN.com. Among his previous books are Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming; 77: Denver, the Broncos, and a Coming of Age; and Playing Piano in a Brothel. He and his wife, Helen, live in Denver.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    Terry Frei gives a remarkable account of the improbable and litt

    Terry Frei gives a remarkable account of the improbable and little known story of America’s greatest athlete and his torrid, politically charged love affair with Nazi Germany’s most famous woman in a war ready Germany in Olympic Affair: A Novel of Hitler’s Siren and America’s Hero.
    Olympic Affair rediscovers the legend of Glenn Morris, America’s long forgotten hero from a tiny farming town in Colorado who won Olympic gold in the Decathlon at the 1936 Berlin Games, and brings his conflicted life back into the consciousness of America. Mr. Frei recounts how Morris, in the days around his ascending to the title of “The Greatest Athlete in the World”, won something even more unexpected, the heart and passion of Leni Riefenstahl, Germany’s renowned actress and producer who gained infamy as “Hitler’s Film Maker” for her 1935 Nazi propaganda film, Triumph of the Will.
    Morris and Riefenstahl, at great personal and professional risk, plot to avoid the watchful eyes of the omnipresent Gestapo and the casual observations of ordinary citizens to conduct their clandestine affair amidst the backdrop of a flourishing and edgy Berlin. The drums of war can be faintly heard in the background before and during the Games as Mr. Frei weaves a story that leaves one wondering; Is Riefenstahl a star struck lover, a ruthlessly ambitious filmmaker, or a manipulative Nazi?
    Leni Riefenstahl, using her celebrity and singular force of will, maneuvers the political quagmire of the Nazi propaganda machine, led by the vulgar Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, in order to make her greatest film without the meddling of the Gestapo and German Olympic officials. She, with myopic vision, drives her Olympic Games documentary, “Olympia”, by pitting fear of the Fuehrer against anyone meddling in her aspirations. Glenn Morris, with his simple country values, helps to unite a racially divided Olympic team while trying to remain focused on his goal of Olympic gold and a future away from the farm. While Leni tries to open his eyes to a new world and unimagined future, Glenn struggles between the seductive pleasures of the present versus the moral expectations of his past.
    Mr. Frei details the racial, political and petty sexual machinations of America Olympic officials and sets them against the grander, evil maneuvering of the Nazi Party, who orchestrate the Games as a tool to deceive the world into believing that Germany is a peaceful and tolerant nation. Racism, anti-Semitism and back door political dealings all coalesce in a shocking appeasement of Hitler to save embarrassment to the Nazi party.
    Terry Frei revives an age when humility was an American trait, when a world class athlete hoped for a few crumbs from a benefactors’ table, when faithfulness to the girl next door was as American as a Rockwell painting. His Olympic Affair: A Novel of Hitler’s Siren and America’s Hero, is a well crafted tale of triumph, love and deceit as two giants of their times weave between love and expediency. He evokes a pre-war time when bureaucrats appeased a dictator and common citizens and athletes from around the world lived with hope, trepidation and suspicion. Interspersed with the stories of Jesse Owens and the forsaken Jewish sprinter, Marty Glickman, “Olympic Affair” roils with personal and political intrigue and love stretched to its boundaries. It is a story not to be missed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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