The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias
- by Don Van Natta Jr.
Texas girl Babe Didrikson never tried a sport too tough and never met a hurdle too high. Despite attempts to keep women from competing, Babe achieved All-American status in basketball and won gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Olympics.
Then Babe attempted to conquer golf.
One of the founders of the LPGA, Babe won more consecutive tournaments than any golfer in history. At the height of her fame, she was diagnosed with cancer. Babe would then take her most daring step of all: go public and try to win again with the hope of inspiring the world.
A rollicking saga, stretching across the first half of the 20th century, WONDER GIRL is as fresh, heartfelt, and graceful as Babe herself.
I have to admit that prior to starting this book I had never heard of Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Yet despite having no particular interest in sports or sports history, I certainly had heard of the other Babe. Babe Ruth. After finishing Wonder Girl, I’m left puzzled as to why that is.
I found the book Wonder Girl to be well researched, well written and highly entertaining. It offers a fascinating account of the life and incredible accomplishments of Babe Didrikson Zaharias who fearlessly broke down barriers and changed the course of sporting history. She paved the way for future generations of female athletes. From a mischievous childhood to becoming a circus performer, a star basketball player, an Olympic gold medalist and a record breaker in multiple events and finally a world champion golfer. Wonder Girl chronicles how this woman succeeded in whichever athletic pursuit she set her mind to.
When only in her 40’s she was diagnosed with colon cancer, Babe once again changed the course of history. Instead of keeping her disease hidden from the public (as was the norm in those days) she became a very public and influential spokeswoman and fundraiser for cancer. The other Babe, Babe Ruth had cancer as well. He chose to keep it hidden from the public.
I highly recommend Wonder Girl as a great summer read, particularly to women who have an interest in sports, but also for the rest of us. It is an excellent story and one that we probably already should have been aware of.
Thank you once again to Gingermommy for the opportunity to read another great book.