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Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike

Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike [Kindle Edition]

William Fotheringham
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Merckx - a natural champion who regularly rode himself and others into agony and glory - is a fine choice for a writer of Fotheringham's skill and cycling knowledge... A fascinating, often bleak portrait of remarkable athlete and an unnerving man." (Brian Schofield Sunday Times)

"A fine portrait of obsession" (Financial Times)

"Remarkable and impressive . everything you want to know about Merckx and more." (Richard Abraham Cycling Weekly)

"The Cantona or Muhammad Ali of cycling, this Belgian's story is amazing - and it's told by one of the greatest cycling reporters around... Top Notch" (Loaded)

"The full unvarnished of one man's heaven, and hell, on wheels." (i, Independent)

Book Description

The Sunday Times Number One bestselling biography of Eddy Merckx, the greatest cyclist of all time, by William Fotheringham, Britain's top cycling writer.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2047 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0224074512
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (22 Mar 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224074482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224074483
  • ASIN: B00778MI0S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,938 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

William Fotheringham writes for the Guardian and Observer on cycling and rugby. He is the author of a biography of Tom Simpson, Put Me Back On My Bike, which was acclaimed by Vélo magazine as 'the best cycling biography ever written' and Roule Britannia: A History of Britons in the Tour de France.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Merckx biographies are like buses.... 26 April 2012
I finished Friebe's The Cannibal immediately prior to reading Fotheringham so naturally my instinct is to compare the 2- generally both books come to more or less the same conclusions regards Merckx, what drove him etc. Fotheringham does have the advantage of actually having interviewed Merckx himself although this turns out to have been in 1997.
As a summary of Merckx's career, this is well structured and draws on a wide range of interviews from those who worked with or against The Cannibal. There is plenty here to amaze and educate those not lucky enough to see the man when he qctually competed and it shows why it is not simple hyperbole to describe Merckx as the greatest cyclist ever. To be honest if I had to choose between Friebe and Fotheringham I would find it difficult-they complement each other well in that they go into different levels of detail on different epsiodes so something Fotheringham mentions in passing is dealt with more expensively by Friebe and vice versa. So neither is fully definitive on its own but still stand as useful and illuminating
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IT'S ALL ABOUT MAN & BIKE! 30 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Cycling fans enjoy; as I enjoyed reading this extreremely detailed account, but then I'm a cycling roadracing fanatic and the 'cannibal' has long been one of my heroes. William Fotheringham is clearly a Merckx worshiper also - His rendition of the life of a truly great sportsman who appears to have beaten everyone and won everything is clinical, precise and accurate. He describes the cycling achievements of the man no one could beat and his domination of his era with knowledge and enthusiasm. If the story has a fault it might rest with Merckx's constant winning ability and his total dominance of the peleton; so much so that everyone else appeared, at times, to just give up and let the 'master' ride to the inevitable victory. Of course things went wrong for Eddie in later years, when he finally lost some of his edge - but that's all in the story and that's life!

Read it if you love cyle racing and the 'BIG' TOURS ..........
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book but important omission 17 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Another great cycling book from Fotheringham. He seems to have a real knack for bringing cyclists from the past to life and putting some of the excitment of the cares from years back into his texts. I found it a real page turner and read it in less than a week. I really needed to find out the next stage of the story, how the race was won, etc. It certainly made me seek out some of the film and video footage from the races covered. I found the text from Fotheringham much more exciting than any of the film though, which whilst says something about 1970s cycle filming techniques its more a reflection on the writing abilities of the author.

There is one problem with this book that, how big a problem I'm not really sure and unless one reads French or Flemish, then its unlikely to be possible to tell. The problem is that the book doesn't really have much in the way of interviews with Merckx himself. Sure there are some quotes, stories and such from old interviews between him and the author and of course there is lots of historical sources and interviews with contempories but there did seem to be a noticeable omission of direct interviews with the main man himself. Not sure why that might be, I can only infer that he actively did not want to be involved, which is a shame, as I am sure it would have added something.

Its still an excellent book though and considering the lack of alternative English language books on Merckx, then its required reading. Highly recommended.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the biography I was expecting. 4 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This isn't a straight forward biography of the great man but an attempt to discover why Merckx was driven to push himself to the point of destruction throughout his career. I was always aware of just how phenomenal Merckx was and how many races he won. What surpised me was this staggering success was often achived despite significant injuries. Excellent read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant biography of the legend 21 April 2012
By phil n
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had always wondered why there wasn't an English language biography of Merckx. Then I saw two were due out this spring. I pre-ordered because I had enjoyed Fotheringham's other books on Coppi and Simpson. This is the best of the lot. Manages to avoid just listing the hundreds of victories and focuses on some key points in each of Merckx's seasons. A great attempt to understand the motivations of the inspirational man. It conveys something of Merckx's passion and puts the unparalleled achievements into context in a fascinating way. A very difficult book to put down. I absolutely loved it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So THIS is Eddie Merckx 25 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Eddy Merckx. For people like me, whose knowledge or interest in road racing commences after the 70s, that name was something of a faceless, ubiquitous imprint all over the record books. Go to Wikipedia and look up the winners of Grand Tours and classics between 1968 and 1976; you will see 'Eddy Merckx' everywhere. Having got long accustomed to seeing and hearing the name without much actual appreciation of the owner, I thought it was time to find out more about the legendary cyclist.

William Fotheringham has put this biography together in a brilliant fashion. He gives some wonderful passage to Merckx's rise, and focusses on many rivals and team-mates/domestiques who were present during the great man's career. Fotheringham also does a brilliant job of putting Merckx's achievements into true perspective - particularly his one-hour record, and the fact that unlike today, there was no dedication to a single tour - Merckx, `The Cannibal', rode to win anywhere he could. When someone truly dominates their sport, such as Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan and Eddie Merckx, their resulting achievements can sometimes lose a bit of impact purely because there are so many statistics and high numbers to take in. Happily, the author manages to give weight and appropriate significance to many of Merckx's victories, and builds a picture of an unstoppable athlete, well ahead of his peers both physically and mentally during his dominant years - at a time when those self-same peers were often legends in their own right.

Now because I have no memories or recollections of Merckx during his career (because I wasn't around at the time), this book is the only personal insight into the man and his records that I have encountered - I therefore read this biography without prejudice.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book and a must read for any cycling fan
I really enjoyed reading this book.

The book is well written and gives you an appreciation of why Merckx is called The Cannibal

It also provides a wonderful... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Michael Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars William Fotheringham
This is an author who reserches is subject & know competative cycling very well.This gives the reader good interesting & entertaining reading.
Published 1 month ago by boanerges
4.0 out of 5 stars The greatest of all time.
Have read plenty of cycling books and am an avid cyclist myself. Great admiration for all pro cyclists as the dedication required and fitness levels are astounding. Read more
Published 1 month ago by robert greensmith
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poorly written doesn't do justice to the legend
This is a poorly written book with timelines that jump all over the place, written word is very poor and not well articulated at all. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Andrew Mc Daniel
5.0 out of 5 stars A great insight into the all time greatest.
The book gets under the surface of what it took for Eddy Merckx to become the greatest of all time.
The chapters on his early childhood and family background show how his... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mike Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest by far!
Far from being an all hail the king type of book. Mr Fotheringham looks at the whole career of Eddy Merckx, his achievements obviously but more interestingly the relationships, his... Read more
Published 5 months ago by J-Bear
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cannibal "Cyborg"
Very good read by a great journalist and a good account of the great Merckx career. I do not usually by sport biographies but as a fan of the athlete and the sport I did this time... Read more
Published 5 months ago by SusanoWo
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
this is another great book from William fotheringham,he seems to have a real knack for writing cycling books,i would recommend this book to anyone who loves the history of cycling
Published 6 months ago by sean
5.0 out of 5 stars CANNIBALISATION!
I had an Eddy Merckx bike when I was a kid without a single idea of who he was. I preferred football or cricket. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Spanish traveller
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Absolutely first class in depth account of Mr Merckx, this guys achievements are just phenomenal and in the current climate of professional cycling it is highly unlikely they will... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Gaz
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