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Babe Conquers the World: The Legendary Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias
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Babe Conquers the World: The Legendary Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  98 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Babe Didrikson Zaharias had one driving goal: to become the greatest athlete who ever lived. And she made good on that promise with a meteoric rise to famed basketball player, Olympic medalist, and top female golfer. But there was more to Babe than just sports. Noted novelists and sportswriters Rich and Sandra Wallace expose the many controversies surrounding this famous f ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 1st 2014 by Calkins Creek
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  98 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Teresa Scherping Moulton
In the 1920s and '30s, there weren't a lot of girls playing sports. Athletic competition was considered too strenuous for girls and women, and most people thought it should be available only to boys and men. Mildred "Babe" Didrikson was born into this world determined to succeed despite all that. Babe grew up in a big Norwegian family in Port Arthur, Texas, and from a young age she wanted nothing more than to win the most challenging athletic competitions in the world. She dropped out of high sc ...more
Ms. Yingling
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When it comes to phenomenal athletes who defied the odds, Babe Didrickson is without compare. Driven to excel at anything she tried, and compelled by ambition as well as poverty to try everything, she was the best of the best in running, golf, basketball and even bowling! She was also outspoken and brash, which at the time she lived were considered unattractive and unfeminine qualities, which led to reporters to question her feminity and even her sexuality. The Wallaces set this book up brillian ...more
Mary Bassett
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: english-420
Babe Conquers the World is the story of Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Babe, born to working class Norwegian immigrants in southeast Texas, became one of the most remarkable and talented athletes-- male or female-- of all times. Born with tremendous determination, a gregarious personality, and a fierce competitive streak, Babe excelled in all sports that she tried. With her athletic talents she won two olympic gold medals, 41 golf tournaments, and was named the Associate
Dana C.
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: strong-girls
I'm not a sports nut, but I picked up this book because women have always been great! While I was reading this book, my husband informed me there was a TV movie about her life in the early 70's. The book does a nice job talking about how she had to find training opportunities for herself. The timeline at the back is invaluable. I'm disappointed to learn that sports opportunities for girls actually declined for a bit before Title IX. But I am ever hopeful about our acceptance of many definitions ...more
Carol Ann
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this one--such an inspiring story. Her attitude and her desire to succeed at sports was incredible to me. She just pushed--totally focused.
Arguably one of the best athletes of all time--and certainly, a talented female athlete who seemed able to master just about every sport--Babe Didrikson set out to conquer the sports world during a time when females were not encouraged to play sports or do much in the way of physical activity. Babe (originally named Mildred and affectionately dubbed "Babe" by her mother) grew up poor and working class in Texas. Female sports superstars today owe her a debt of gratitude because she was ground-bre ...more
Diane Ferbrache
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the greatest female athletes of the 20th century is profiled in a biography written by Rich Wallace (author of Wrestling Sturbridge) and his wife, author and sportscaster for ESPN. From her working class upbringing on the Texas Gulf Coast to her successes as a track and field star and a groundbreaking golf pro. While the authors clearly admire her athletic abilities and her resilience in the face of so many roadblocks, they do not shy away from her setbacks, her battle with cancer, and t ...more
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book about the world’s greatest female athlete. The colorful cover, with a photo of Babe “hurdling” over the title, will draw a teen’s eye. The background is bright orange with yellow stripes and blue and white typeface. Inside the book, the reader will discover a large typeface and lots of black and white photographs. The chapter titles are clever - similar to a boxing match (10 rounds/10 chapters) and each one is her versus someone/something else.

And the story itself is compe
Aaron Maurer
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Babe is a good read. Right away I could not believe that I was never exposed to her and her story. Having two daughters of my own I think she is one that my daughters need to read about when they get older.

The book reads very easy. I really enjoyed the visuals and pictures along the way. In addition, there are little snippets of historical events and other little gems to help bring the story into context. It is hard to believe how limited women had it not even a hundred years ago. It
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've known about Zahaias all my life, thanks to a mother who shared the story of this phenomenal athlete, and I've read adult books about her. So I am pleased that young readers will also have the chance to learn about a woman who rose to the top of every sport she tried long before most sports had professional teams for women. Basketball, golf, track and field, diving, roller-skating, pool and bowling. She is considered one of the best American athletes, males or female, of the twentieth centur ...more
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Only at the very end do the authors bemoan that when we talk about Babe is usually "Ruth" not "Didrikson" and this book attempts to correct that. It would have been interesting had that thread carried through the book, because she truly was famous and yet we don't get a full sense of that fame. They also seem to pull some punches when describing this woman who doesn't seem terribly likeable. Her lack of team play is mentioned, but not how she managed to get the track event rules changed (who did ...more
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Was an interesting read. I had no knowledge of Babe before this. At first it was kind of hard to be totally engaged. The book has photos and captions interspersed throughout so I would have to find a stopping point in the main story before looking at and reading about the pictures.
Seems to be written for middle school-ish level reading. It spoke of an autobiography that would probably be more for adults? I'll have to look into it. It would be interesting to read from her perspective.
Jane Drabkin
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was originally intimidated by the size of this biography of Babe. I had read another book about her and felt like that was enough. But I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. The book is an easy to read biography, filled with photographs and fascinating sidebars. Babe is presented as an unbelievably talented and gifted athlete, but also exhibits all of her quirks, arrogance, and egotism. Through the sidebars, the authors spotlight important aspects of Babe's world. Babe was an athlete th ...more
Sacramento Public Library
An engaging portrait of a fascinating figure. Wallace doesn't sugar coat Babe's competitive nature, or the financial drive behind many of her career decisions. Nonetheless, Babe's incredible athletic ability and passion for competition come through loud and clear. Wallace seamlessly incorporates social history while maintaining the focus clearly on Babe. While she may not have been the best teammate, and she certainly never hesitated to take a ridiculous job if it earned her some money, this bio ...more
Chelsea Couillard-Smith
An engaging portrait of a fascinating figure. Wallace doesn't sugar coat Babe's competitive nature, or the financial drive behind many of her career decisions. Nonetheless, Babe's incredible athletic ability and passion for competition come through loud and clear. Wallace seamlessly incorporates social history while maintaining the focus clearly on Babe. While she may not have been the best teammate, and she certainly never hesitated to take a ridiculous job if it earned her some money, this bio ...more
Sep 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Why isn’t Babe Didrikson a household name, the way Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are household names? She was, after all, in ESPN’s top ten athletes of the 20th century. She did, after all, excel at multiple sports, including basketball, track and field, tennis, and golf. She did, after all, singlehandedly defeat a 22-person track and field team to take the women’s national championship title - breaking four world records in the process (three of which were already her own). And she was, after ...more
Nov 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Babe Didrikson Zaharias was a pioneering women's athlete. At a time when sports were thought to be detrimental to a woman's health, she proved that women athletes were able to succeed in a variety of sports. She started by playing on women's basketball teams, and then expanded into track and field. She won three medals in the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, breaking both world and Olympic records. Finally, she took on golf, and is responsible for the founding of the LPGA. Her life was not easy, an ...more
Babe Didrikson Zaharias was a sports wonder. She excelled at pretty much any sport she attempted: basketball, running, high jump, bowling, golf. You name it and she probably tried it. She was a brash, outspoken, driven person who didn't always make friends with her competitors or teammates. She had to overcome huge odds to make it in the sports world at a time when women were not thought to be athletically talented. I am not a sports person and had never heard of her before reading this book. I ...more
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, sports
Excellent biography of the famous woman athlete who was a champion in basketball, track and field (1932 Olympics), bowling, baseball AND golf! She died of cancer in 1956. Well-written book that shows Babe's personality and determination. Well-designed, with plenty of large black and white photos, and nice side bars in between chapters. Chapter titles are engaging and catchy, such as "Round One" or "Babe Vs. The Boys," "Babe vs. The Rules," etc. Extensive source notes and bibliography. Interviews ...more
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Babe Didrikson Zaharias' story is an important one, and for too long it has been brushed aside in favor of the male athletes of her day. The authors do an excellent job of telling her story. The only problem that I had with the book was that the sidebars were sometimes multiple pages long which broke up paragraphs in the middle. I found myself reading the sidebar and then having to go back and to read the beginning of the paragraph again.
Marta-Kate Jackson
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
Sports fans will be intrigued by Babe's varied accomplishments and storied history. Her ability to dedicate herself and succeed at such a variety of sports truly sets her apart from today's athletes. Being a golfer, I found the last half of the book, which details her amazing golf career, to be the most interesting.
Nov 04, 2014 rated it liked it
This well-written biography thoroughly explores the life and career of Babe Didrikson Zaharias. She was arguably one of the greatest female athletes ever. Numerous photos and other bonus content help bring this legend to life. Written for a young adult audience, it will likely be a good choice for some required reading.
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. The Wallaces do a great job of bringing a sense of who Didrikson was, warts and all, and the major contributions she made to opportunities for women in sports today. And truly - what a phenomenal athlete she was! Great back matter too.
Edward Sullivan
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, biography
An admiring, honest, revealing biography of one of the foremost female athletes of all time who set multiple world records long before Title IX. Compare this title to Russell Freedman's biography, Babe Didrikson Zaharias: The Making of a Champion (Clarion, 1999).
Laura Phelps
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: possiblemsba2014
3.5 stars

An extensive biography of an interesting athlete and person; I loved the archival photographs, but had a hard time warming up to Babe herself - she is presented as an extraordinarily driven athlete, but, until the end of her life, a less likeable person.
Brenda Kahn
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I brought this to read while waiting for my doctor and got so caught up in it that I was actually disappointed when I was called in! I love the bold design, all the the quotes and the many, many photos. The tone was so conversational that I did not feel like I was reading a biography.
Mrs. Porter
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Balanced look at the life of Babe Didrickson Zaharias. The use of photographs and sidebars that are full page explanations of the culture of the times will enhance understanding for the intended audience of middle grade students.
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Everything you wanted to know about the famous woman athlete, and more! Lots of quotes from Babe, meticulously noted in the back matter. Despite the large font, the length and some content make this book best for middle school and older readers.
I was fascinated by this story of Babe Didrikson Zaharias' life. The authors did a great job of providing a balanced look at this sports great, and she came through as a determined, sometimes arrogant, woman who fought very hard to be able to participate in sports.
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Cap Choices 10-14
What an amazing and inspiring women, athlete, and person Babe Didrikson Zaharias was! With photos, quotes and a compelling narrative Babe Conquers the World will introduce young readers to an athlete who should never be forgotten.
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