Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Wakeman, Nancy. Babe Didrikson Zaharias: Driven to Win (2000)
Born in 1911, Babe Didrikson was a natural athlete who once won a track and field competition by herself by competing in eight events and winning five of them! In an era when women didn't necessarily showcase their athleticism, Babe found ways to earn enough income to support her family while doing what she loved. She qualified for the Olympics, made money through product endorsements, performed athletic feats on the Vaudeville circuit, and spent time not playing sports so that she could be reclassified as an amateur and play golf, until it was more lucrative to play as a professional as a founding member of the LPGA. She married George Zaharias, a professional wrestler who managed her career, and was voted the top female athlete of the first half of the twentieth century. Truly and original, she had the brashness and drive to push the limits, both physically and socially, of what women could do, before her untimely death from cancer at the age of 45.

Strengths: This Lerner biography is well laid out, with pictures and sidebars explaining various historical and cultural events. It moves quickly and is readable, although it is also an excellent resource for reports.
Weaknesses: The writing starts out a bit wooden but improves.

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