More than Just Games: Canada and the 1936 Olympics

University of Toronto Press
Free sample

Held in Germany, the 1936 Olympic Games sparked international controversy. Should athletes and nations boycott the games to protest the Nazi regime? More Than Just Games is the history of Canada’s involvement in the 1936 Olympics. It is the story of the Canadian Olympic officials and promoters who were convinced that national unity and pride demanded that Canadian athletes compete in the Olympics without regard for politics. It is the story of those Canadian athletes, mostly young and far more focused on sport than politics, who were eager to make family, friends, and country proud of their efforts on Canada’s behalf. And, finally, it is the story of those Canadians who led an unsuccessful campaign to boycott the Olympics and deny Nazi Germany the propaganda coup of serving as an Olympic host.

Written by two noted historians of Canadian Jewish history, Richard Menkis and Harold Troper, More than Just Games brings to life the collision of politics, patriotism, and the passion of sport on the eve of the Second World War.

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About the author

Richard Menkis is an associate professor in the Departments of History and Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is co-editor with Norman Ravvin of the Canadian Jewish Studies Reader.

Harold Troper is professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. The co-author of None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews (with Irving Abella), his most recent book is The Defining Decade: Identity, Politics, and the Canadian Jewish Community in the 1960s.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Toronto Press
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Published on
May 27, 2015
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781442620520
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Canada / General
History / Europe / General
History / General
History / Jewish
History / Modern / 20th Century
Social Science / Sociology / General
Sports & Recreation / Essays
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In the tradition of Seabiscuit and The Summer of ’49, a gripping sports narrative that brilliantly tells the amazing individual stories of the unforgettable athletes who gathered in Mexico City in a year of dramatic upheaval.

The 1968 Mexico City Olympics reflected the spirit of their revolutionary times. Richard Hoffer’s Something in the Air captures the turbulence and offbeat heroism of that historic Olympiad, which was as rich in inspiring moments as it was drenched in political and racial tensions.

Although the basketball star Lew Alcindor decided to boycott, heavyweight boxer George Foreman not only competed, but waved miniature American flags over his fallen opponents. The sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos became as famous for their raised-fist gestures of protest as their speed on the track. No one was prepared for Bob Beamon’s long jump, which broke the world’s record by a staggering twenty-two inches. And then there was Dick Fosbury, the goofball high jumper whose backwards, upside down approach to the bar (the "Fosbury Flop") baffled his coaches while breaking records. Though Fosbury was his own man, he was apolitical and easygoing. He didn’t defy authority; he defied gravity.

Witty, insightful, and filled with human drama, Something in the Air mixes Shakespearean complexity with Hollywood sentimentality, sociopolitical significance, and the exhilarating spectacle of youthful, physical prowess. It is a powerful, unforgettable tale that will resonate with sports fans and readers of social history alike.
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award (Holocaust Category)

Winner of the Canadian Historical Association John A. Macdonald Prize

Featured in The Literary Review of Canada 100: Canada’s Most Important Books

[This] is a story best summed up in the words of an anonymous senior Canadian official who, in the midst of a rambling, off-the-record discussion with journalists in 1945, was asked how many Jews would be allowed into Canada after the war … ‘None,’ he said, ‘is too many.’

From the Preface

One of the most significant studies of Canadian history ever written, None Is Too Many conclusively lays to rest the comfortable notion that Canada has always been an accepting and welcoming society. Detailing the country’s refusal to offer aid, let alone sanctuary, to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution between 1933 and 1948, it is an immensely bleak and discomfiting story – and one that was largely unknown before the book’s publication.

Irving Abella and Harold Troper’s retelling of this episode is a harrowing read not easily forgotten: its power is such that, ‘a manuscript copy helped convince Ron Atkey, Minister of Employment and Immigration in Joe Clark’s government, to grant 50,000 “boat people” asylum in Canada in 1979, during the Southeast Asian refugee crisis’ (Robin Roger, The Literary Review of Canada). None Is Too Many will undoubtedly continue to serve as a potent reminder of the fragility of tolerance, even in a country where it is held as one of our highest values.

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