Explores the personal life, athletic accomplishments, and career of Jesse Owens.
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Gr. 7^-12. Although Owens was the grandson of slaves and the youngest child of destitute Alabama sharecroppers, he shared his mother's enthusiasm for life and optimism for success. Ignoring his life-threatening, frail constitution and the corrosive racism of his small southern community, young Jesse latched onto mentors whose confidence in his potential made him the gold medal hero of the 1936 Olympics. Under the subtly profound guidance of his junior-high coach, Owens developed an unwavering faith in himself and a belief in the fairness of the world that not even public ridicule from such divergent agitators as Adolf Hitler and Malcolm X could destroy. This densely detailed biography occasionally sags under the weight of redundancy, but it shows obvious reverence for Owens and the dignity with which he faced his tribulations. In addition, through Owens' example, it offers readers a clear and inspiring picture of how one man overcame his racist enemies by simply being true to himself. Source notes; further reading. Roger LeslieFrom School Library Journal:
Grade 5-9-The legendary track-and-field star is the subject of this well-balanced biography. From meager beginnings to international fame, though not fortune, Owens is presented as a talented, hard-working athlete with both good and bad personal traits. As he lived through some dynamic times, readers will be exposed to some of the social history of the black migration north, segregation, the racial overtones of World War II, and the civil rights movement. Nineteen black-and-white photographs of various sizes and quality appear throughout the 15 chapters. Source notes, an extensive list for further reading, and an index are appended. Meatier than Wayne Coffey's Jesse Owens (Blackbirch, 1992; o.p.), Nuwer's book will serve libraries that are in need of a biography of this gifted athlete whose influence extended far afield.
Tom S. Hurlburt, La Crosse Public Library, WI
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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