Arriving in time for the summer events in Athens is Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics by Sue Macy. This account of the modern Olympics, beginning in 1896, covers women's entrance into the games, star athletes who broke records, and expectations and controversies including racism, terrorism and drug scandals. Photographs, charts of record-holders and an introduction by Bob Costas round out this timely release. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Though subtitled "A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics," this attractive book contains plenty of information as well. Anyone who loves sports, and especially the Olympics, will be fascinated by the account of the Games' founding by wealthy Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin and the story of the first modern Olympics in 1896. Especially compelling are the well-written chapters on the struggles of female athletes to be included (Coubertin thought women should be delighted to provide applause for male winners) and on the part politics has played in the history of the games. The author does not ignore the problems of drugs and other cheating, but stresses the joy of accomplishment and the sacrifices some athletes have made for others. National Geographic always does a terrific job with photographs and Macy's choices live up to their standard. From black-and-white glimpses of earlier athletes and sites to striking color close-ups of modern competitors, scenes of tense and triumphal moments, and views of posters, mascots, and medals, these photos invite poring over. A wonderfully informative final section includes a map of all sites, statistics on the number of countries participating, events included, and even the oldest and youngest winners over the years. "Olympic Snapshots" hits the highlights of each Olympiad from 1896 to 2000, listing the sites for 2004 and 2008 (Beijing). Whether reading about the personal struggles of diver Greg Louganis or admiring the stunning blue and white poster for the Munich games, young sports-lovers will find this handsome volume irresistible. 2004, National Geographic, Ages 12 up.
Barbara L. Talcroft
Gr 3 Up-While other books on the topic go into more depth on specific sports, athletes, or historical events, none are as enthusiastically broad or as enjoyable to read as this one. And, it's superbly illustrated with colorful, well-chosen, and enticing photographs. Following a foreword from sportscaster Bob Costas, Macy shares her own young Olympic dreams to represent the appeal of the Games and how they have changed over time. She tells of the rebirth of the Olympic movement in the late 1800s, the changing status of female participants, and the triumph of the thousands of "awe-inspiring athletic performances." Different personalities throughout the years emerge; likewise, fair attention is given to some of the controversies and tragedies that have befallen the event. Nary a spread goes by without dynamic photographs and artifacts, both contemporary and historical; some show, and photo galleries present, compilations of diverse athletes competing, excelling, and celebrating. A world map indicating Summer Olympics sites through 2008 and an almanac of quick data follow. Next up are over a dozen pages giving several paragraphs of fascinating facts from every Olympiad as well as a sample of a poster, medal, or outstanding athlete representing each one. Wonderful research notes, an annotated resource list, and an Olympic quiz bring this book across the finish line first.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In time for this summer's Games, a slickly produced overview that's just right for getting readers up to speed on the modern Olympics' revival, development, and high (or low) spots. Macy combines historical and topical approaches, opening with accounts of Pierre de Coubertin's brilliantly successful efforts to promote that revival and his ugly feud with Alice Milliat over the inclusion of women's events. She goes on to quick profiles of dozens of prominent Olympians, frankly discusses drug and gender issues, politics and violence, then closes with capsule descriptions of each Olympiad from 1896 on. The plethora of illustrations includes shots of posters, gold medals, and athletic gear, but is largely comprised of crisply reproduced photos of athletes, either in action or accepting their laurels. It's a relatively quick once-over, but, capped by a superb, annotated, multimedia source list for readers seeking systematic statistics or specifics about individual events, this sets a pace that few, if any, competitors are likely to match. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)
"While other books on the topic go into more depth on specific sports, athletes, or historical events, none are as enthusiastically broad or as enjoyable to read as this one...Wonderful research notes, an annotated resource list, and an Olympic quiz bring this book across the finish line first."starred review (2004 edition), School Library Journal