Dust Bowl Girls: The Inspiring Story of the Team That Barnstormed Its Way to Basketball Glory (Hardcover)

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My wife watches A League of Their Own a lot, and I must admit that film always chokes me up as well. So if you're a fan of that movie, or enjoyed the recent bestseller Boys in the Boat, then I would highly recommend Dust Bowl Girls by Lydia Reeder.

Set in the early 1930's depression-era Oklahoma, Dust Bowl Girls tells the true story of the Cardinals, the basketball team playing for the Oklahoma Presbyterian College for Girls. The players were mostly farm girls who loved the game of basketball and were thrilled for the opportunity to keep playing beyond high school. What were they up against? Pretty much everything that could be thrown at them. From the endless Great Depression to failing crops, and even pressure from men and women's groups who didn't believe females should be playing competitive sports, lest they become masculine and not marry and bear children. But the Cardinals had much going for them as well. They knew hard work from an early age. They knew self-discipline and sacrifice. They had a stoic coach who stressed teamwork, sportsmanship, and most of all believed in them. They also had to compete against arguably the greatest female athlete of the 20th century, Babe Didrikson, who was a champion in basketball, track and field, and golf. 

The Cardinals had to practice at 4:00 a.m. so as not to disturb the men's teams. They had to hand crank the team bus, drive it over endless dirt roads, repair it, push it, and then win.You had to win. Because if you didn't, your team could easily be disbanded and forgotten. But thank goodness this story wasn't forgotten. Thank goodness for the Dust Bowl Girls

— Pete Schulte


"A thrilling, cinematic story. I loved every minute I spent with these bold, daring women whose remarkable journey is the stuff of American legend." --Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

The Boys in the Boat
meets A League of Their Own in this true story of a Depression-era championship women's team.

In the early 1930s, during the worst drought and financial depression in American history, Sam Babb began to dream. Like so many others, this charismatic Midwestern basketball coach wanted a reason to have hope. Traveling from farm to farm near the tiny Oklahoma college where he coached, Babb recruited talented, hardworking young women and offered them a chance at a better life: a free college education in exchange for playing on his basketball team, the Cardinals.

Despite their fears of leaving home and the sacrifices that their families would face, the women joined the team. And as Babb coached the Cardinals, something extraordinary happened. These remarkable athletes found a passion for the game and a heartfelt loyalty to one another and their coach--and they began to win.

Combining exhilarating sports writing and exceptional storytelling, Dust Bowl Girls takes readers on the Cardinals' intense, improbable journey all the way to an epic showdown with the prevailing national champions, helmed by the legendary Babe Didrikson. Lydia Reeder captures a moment in history when female athletes faced intense scrutiny from influential figures in politics, education, and medicine who denounced women's sports as unhealthy and unladylike. At a time when a struggling nation was hungry for inspiration, this unlikely group of trailblazers achieved much more than a championship season.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781616204662
ISBN-10: 1616204664
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: January 24th, 2017
Pages: 304
Language: English