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Little Wonder (2020)

English | ISBN: 1617758191 | 2020 | EPUB | 288 Pages | 50 MB

“Abramsky…masterfully captures te life of this little-known sportswoman, a versatile female athlete comparable to Babe Didrikson Zaharias. In an eloquently written narrative, spiced with vivid descriptions of the Victorian era and the early twentieth century, he shines a light on Dod…This fine biography makes a significant contribution to sports history and women’s studies and should go a long way to bringing Dod’s inspirational story to a new audience.”
-Booklist, Starred review

“A book that brings well deserved attention to Dod…Abramsky has done a masterly job researching Dod’s story and calling attention to the achievements of this pioneer who should be recognized by all interested in sports.”
-Library Journal

“Abramsky documents in this engrossing page turner the inspiring life of forgotten sports phenomenon Lottie Dod (1871-1960), who blazed a trail for women sports superstars today…This astute history is a must read for sports fans and women’s studies’ students.”
-Publishers Weekly

“In this comprehensive and highly detailed account of Dod’s life, freelance journalist Abramsky chronicles her interests and winnings in each of the sports to which she devoted her attention…Even though Dod was a phenom in her day, she was largely forgotten without TV, movies, or social media to carry her name forward. Fortunately for sports fans and students of women’s studies, Dod won’t be overlooked thanks to Abramsky’s thorough biography. The author’s historical portrait helps readers appreciate Dod’s amazing feats long before Title IX was ever conceived. A welcome resurrection of a true pioneer.”
-Kirkus Reviews

“Lottie Dod is one of the world’s great unsung sporting heroes. There wasn’t a glass ceiling she didn’t succeed in breaking, and in Little Wonder, Sasha Abramsky takes readers on an amazing journey across continents and decades as she shattered records and destroyed stereotypes along the way.”
-Billie Jean King

“It’s so important to remember the past champions, especially the women who tend to be forgotten in the history books.”
-Martina Navratilova

Lottie Dod was a truly extraordinary sports figure who blazed trails of glory in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Dod won Wimbledon five times, and did so for the first time in 1887, at the ludicrously young age of fifteen. After she grew bored with competitive tennis, she moved on to and excelled in myriad other sports: she became a leading ice skater and tobogganist, a mountaineer, an endurance bicyclist, a hockey player, a British ladies’ golf champion, and an Olympic silver medalist in archery.

In her time, Dod had a huge following, but her years of distinction occurred just before the rise of broadcast media. By the outset of World War I, she was largely a forgotten figure; she died alone and without fanfare in 1960.

Little Wonder brings this remarkable woman’s story to life, contextualizing it against a backdrop of rapid social change and tectonic shifts in the status of women in society. Dod was born into a world in which even upper-class women such as herself could not vote, were restricted in owning property, and were assumed to be fragile and delicate.

Women of Lottie Dod’s class were expected not to work and to definitely get married. Dod never married and never had children, instead putting heart and soul into training to be the best athlete she could possibly be. Paving the way for the likes of Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, and other top female athletes of today, Dod accepted no limits, no glass ceilings, and always refused to compromise.