Lottie Dod, the First Female Sports Superstar
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Abramsky traces [Lottie Dod's] pioneering life with a reporter's zeal
The Times, Best Sports Books of 2021
Eighty-five years before Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs fought the 'battle of the sexes,' a Victorian teenager showed what women could do . . . [Abramsky] celebrates her as a brave and talented and determined original. In sports, the battle of the sexes is far from over, but Dod won more than a few break points simply by living her own life to the fullest
Masterfully captures the life of this little-known sportswoman, a versatile female athlete ... In an eloquently written narrative, spiced with vivid descriptions of the Victorian era and the early twentieth century, he shines a light on Dod
Booklist, STARRED Review
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
Abramsky has lifted Dod out of obscurity with a refreshing narrative that is both descriptive and informative
Sport in American History
An adroitly written biography . . . Abramsky offers a fascinating portrait of the life of this forgotten sports heroine in fluid prose. Little Wonder is a worthy addition to the sports literature
New York Journal of Books
Abramsky combines descriptive writing with research that pulls back the curtain to reveal an athlete whose feats remain stunning 60 years after her death and more than a century after her glory days
New Books in History
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
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
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 ... A welcome resurrection of a true pioneer
It's so important to remember the past champions, especially the women who tend to be forgotten in the history books
Lottie Dod should be a name we still refer to … why did she sink into obscurity? She’s out of it now, because of Sasha Abramsky’s wonderful new book. The perfect summer read
BBC Radio London
I'd love to read this first biography of the great but now largely forgotten sportswoman Lottie Dod, who won Wimbledon when she was only 15, a Silver medal at the 1908 Olympics, the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship, and played hockey for England among many other dazzling achievements
a revelatory read
About the Book
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2021
One of The Times 50 Best Sports Books of 2021
Little Wonder tells the epic, and until now largely unchronicled, story of Lottie Dod, the first great heroine in women’s sports. Dod was a champion tennis player, golfer, hockey player, tobogganist, skater, mountaineer, and archer. She was also a first-rate musician, performing numerous choral concerts in London in the 1920s and 1930s, including in a private performance before the King and Queen.
In the late 19th century, Dod was almost certainly the second most famous woman in the British Isles, bested only by the fame of Queen Victoria. She was fawned over by the press, and loved by a huge fan base – which composed poems and songs in her honor, followed her from one tournament to the next, voraciously read every profile published on her and every report on her sporting triumphs.
Yet, within a decade or two of her retirement from sports, Dod was largely a forgotten figure. She lived, unmarried and childless, until 1960, and for the last half of her life she was shrouded in obscurity. In this new book, Sasha Abramsky brings Lottie's remarkable achievements back into the public eye in a fascinating story of resilience and determination.
Sasha Abramsky grew up in London and now lives in Sacramento with dual UK-US citizenship. He is a freelance journalist, writer, public speaker and university lecturer at U.C. Davis. He has written thousands of articles and is the author of eight published books including Inside Obama's Brain (Penguin, 2009), The American Way of Poverty (Nation Books, 2013) and The House of Twenty Thousand Books (Halban, 2014).