Thorndike Press

Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany

  • Andrew Maraniss
  • Offered By: Thorndike Striving Reader
  • ISBN-10: 1432882147
  • ISBN-13: 9781432882143
  • DDC: 796.480943
  • Shipping Weight: 1.03 lbs ( .46 kgs)
  • 352 Pages | Hardcover
  • Published/Released September 2020



A New York Times Bestselling Author
A 2020 ALA Notable Children’s Book
A 2020 CBC Notable Social Studies Book
A Winner of the 2020 AJL Sidney Taylor Honor

On a scorching hot day in July 1936, thousands of people cheered as the U.S. Olympic teams boarded the S.S. Manhattan, bound for Berlin. Among the athletes were the 14 players representing the first-ever U.S. Olympic basketball team. As thousands of supporters waved American flags on the docks, it was easy to miss the one courageous man holding a BOYCOTT NAZI GERMANY sign. But it was too late for a boycott now; the ship had already left the harbor.

1936 was a turbulent time in world history. Adolf Hitler had gained power in Germany three years earlier. Jewish people and political opponents of the Nazis were the targets of vicious mistreatment, yet were unaware of the horrors that awaited them in the coming years. But the Olympians on board the S.S. Manhattan and other international visitors wouldn’t see any signs of trouble in Berlin. Streets were swept, storefronts were painted, and every German citizen greeted them with a smile. Like a movie set, it was all just a facade, meant to distract from the terrible things happening behind the scenes.

Age Range: 12-17 | Grade Level: 7-9 | Lexile Measure: 1230L


Customer Reviews

“Rivaling the nonfiction works of Steve Sheinkin and Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat. . . . Even readers who don’t appreciate sports will find this story a page-turner.”

— School Library Connection (starred)

“A must for all library collections.”

— Booklist (starred)

“An insightful, gripping account of basketball and bias.”

— Kirkus Reviews