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Road to Valor: A True Story of World War II Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation Hardcover – 12 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY) (12 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030759064X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307590640
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,138,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

this book provides a picture of an irascible but indomitable athlete who faced testing times with character and humility (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

As the Tour de France gets going today, here's a startling, sparkling chronicle of two-time winner Gino Bartali (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

This first account in English of Bartali's life, based on ten years of research, is a timely reminder.. that there were many Italian Catholics who saved Jewish lives. (Richard Owen THE TABLET)

an unfailingly heroic version of Bartali's life (John Foot TLS) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Book Description

ROAD TO VALOUR is the inspiring, against-the-odds story of Gino Bartali, the cyclist who made the greatest comeback in Tour de France history and, between his Tour victories, secretly aided the Italian resistance during World War II --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia on 22 July 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Road to Valor" is a heartwarming story. I'm not someone who's interested in bicycle racing but I love history. This book has both. Gino Bartali was born at a time, 1911, when the bicycle craze was at its peak. Even as a small boy all he seemed to think about was riding a bicycle as fast and for as long as possible and he was good at it. Of course so were many other Italian boys but not all of them had Gino's discipline and drive. Prior to World War II he began making his name known. During the war he officially and unofficially rode missions for the sake of Italy. He'd always been a devote catholic and believed in democracy so he was conflicted when fascist Mussolini was in power. He searched his soul and found a solution. He combined his faith and his politics and joined with some local priests in shuttling false ID information to printers to help smuggle Jews and other political prisoners to safety. He even personally housed and protected a Jewish family. These activities were gravely dangerous.

Of course none of this was known during most of his lifetime. His bicycle racing prowess made his name. He won the famous Tour de France in 1938 and, miraculously, for such a mature man, in 1948. The '48 race was won at the express request of his government. It was a time of social unrest when the communist leader, Palmiro Togliatti, had been shot and it was feared he'd die. The Prime Minister, Alcide de Gasperi, telegraphed Bartali during the race and asked him to help quell the rioting by giving his countrymen a reason to join together. Bartali was up to the task but at great cost to himself. This is an inspiring story but as I said the detailed racing information stalled the story somewhat. Over all it was an aspiring story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Harris on 8 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This was a book which I was eager to read following its 2012 publication. As a long time fan of road cycling's Grand Tours and the many fascinating characters who've risen to the top of that sport over the years, as well as always having an interest in history, especially that of the 20th century which is within living memory (or at least perhaps only at one generation's distance), I thought that this intriguingly titled book would be a certain winner. Please forgive my lengthy comments here - I found it too difficult to sum this one up with much brevity...

Gino Bartali was already a hero of mine. He won the Tour de France in 1938, and then again - an almost professional career's worth of ten years later in 1948! To win cycling's greatest race twice is some achievement, but to do so after such a long gap between the victories is something extraordinary. It had never been done before and hasn't been done since. I doubt it ever will. No doubt, if it weren't for the war interrupting his career when at its peak, he would have won several more Tours. I had also heard a little about his anti-Fascist persuasion before and during WWII, but really knew nothing of it. And finally, there was his fierce rivalry with compatriot Fausto Coppi. Some consider Coppi the greatest cyclist of all time... their rivalry probably was.

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

Road To Valor tells the story of Gino's conservative and traditionally Catholic upbringing in the Florence district of Tuscany. Together with his brother he becomes an avid fan of cycling and loves the independence that owning his first hard-earned bicycle gives him. He has a job in a local bike workshop. Here he makes the acquaintance of a Giacomo Goldenberg.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very well researched with masses of source material. Excellent on the life & times of fascist Italy, and on the personality & human story of Gino Bartali. His role as a war time resistance courier helping Jewish families is painstakingly researched. So also is the story of his part in delivering Italy from a civil war and communism by winning the Tour in 1948. Excellent detail and very authoritative sources in supporting these two important and previously little known stories.

However the style occasionally reads like a compilation of source material, and I found the authors' clear lack of understanding of cycle racing led to some naive (almost patronising) commentary on racing aspects which could be very annoying in some places. For example a historic picture of Bartali talking to Fausto Coppi who is resplendent in his rainbow jersey of 1953 world champion is just tagged "Bartali with another rider". Despite a lot of copy about the Coppi - Bartali relationship, neither the authors nor publishers could recognise an iconic picture of the Campionissimo when they had it! Similarly much of Bartali's racing success is glossed over in a way which seems very odd to any cycling fan.

So - very important, excellent and highly recommended research for the key stories, but sadly misses out on five stars.
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Format: Hardcover
When my friend loaned me this book it sort of came with an apology for not being the Merckx or Coppi bographies and I knew very little of Gino Bartali's achievements or history so I did not know what to expect.
You can read a more in depth review of the book in the previous reviews but for me once I had begun to read it I did not want to stop.As you would expect being a kee cyclist I have read many many biographies of riders and whilst this mainly detail their careers too date this one goes so much deeper into not only what GB achieved but how he put his life on the line for others. This book is not only about a great cyclist but more than that a great man.I can categorically say that this book is the best sports book I have ever read and possibly the best book I have ever read.
In these times of recession none of us can afford to waste money so we all have to be careful what we purchase but I can tell you that if you are interested in buying this book it is well worth buying.
GB's story is one that should be portrayed in a feature film of his life.
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