Hitler's Games: The 1936 Olympics

Duff Hart-Davis, Author HarperCollins Publishers $16.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-015554-4
British journalist Hart-Davis here examines the political and social circumstances leading to the spectacular 1936 Berlin Olympics, and provides a well-orchestrated account of the games themselves. The book does not fall into the category of sports history, however: the author is mainly interested in showing how the Olympics were for the first time deliberately exploited for political ends. Hitler pulled off a triumph of bluff and propaganda that summer. Despite Nazi persecution of Jews, Catholics and political dissidents (and a concentration camp near the Olympic stadium), most foreign visitors, according to the author, went home impressed with Germany as an orderly, modern and above all civilized society. There is fresh material here on Hitler's attempts to win new friendships with the British through a series of dazzling soirees. The vivid descriptions of these highly formal affairs include interesting glimpses of Goring, Goebbels, Himmler and the Fuhrer himself. Although Hart-Davis fails to explain in detail how the monumental deception of Olympics propaganda was carried out, his depiction of the payoff is well done. Illustrations. (May 14)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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