Study Guide

Olympics Books The Boys of Winter

By Various Authors

The Boys of Winter

A.k.a: The Movie "Miracle"

The Boys of Winter tells a classic David and Goliath story, framed around the 1980 Olympic semi-finals between the U.S. Hockey team and the internationally renowned Russians. Since the 1960s, Russia had completely dominated world hockey. They set the standards for how to play: what kind of shots to take (they took wrist shots, because why risk breaking your stick with a slap shot?), how to skate, when to pass, when to change lines.

But coach Herb Brooks had a plan to change everything in order to beat these colossuses.

His plan was an intricate one, detailed thoroughly throughout this captivating book filled with actual sayings Brooks was famous for coining. (Our favorite was: "You look like you have a five pound fart on your head.") Wayne Coffey reverently describes the physical, emotional, and psychological abuse Brooks inflicted upon his players, toughening them up to win a battle that everyone expected them to lose.

And then, the moment we've all been waiting for: a detailed account of exactly what happened when the Americans took on the undefeated Russians in the Olympic Semi-Final…and won. It was a triumph beyond all expectations for the United States, and a tragedy on the scale of disaster for the proud Russians.

Sometimes, national pride can be a boon, or it can be a real pain in the buttinsky (Russian joke).