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Road to Valour: Gino Bartali: Tour de France Legend and Italy's Secret World War Two Hero

Road to Valour: Gino Bartali: Tour de France Legend and Italy's Secret World War Two Hero [Kindle Edition]

Aili McConnon , Andres McConnon
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Description


this book provides a picture of an irascible but indomitable athlete who faced testing times with character and humility (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 20120708)

As the Tour de France gets going today, here's a startling, sparkling chronicle of two-time winner Gino Bartali (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 20120701)

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 20120724)

an unfailingly heroic version of Bartali's life (John Foot TLS 20120921)

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

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1770 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385669488
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (28 Jun 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008E9PA40
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #74,263 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched, Inspiring 22 July 2012
By Cynthia
"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
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.


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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A book everyone should read 12 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent study of a remarkable man. However ,more than this, it is a detailed account of a terrible but fascinating period in Italian, and world history. Well researched and written with a great feeling for the frailties as well as the strengths of a complex character. A book not only for cycling fans but for everyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What a guy
You have to read this what a guy
Published 1 month ago by Mickydayman
5.0 out of 5 stars hero
much o ghe Gino story is new and shows an insight as to the determination of this complex man. Dedicated is wartime activities ti saving others, a brilliant tale of the unexpected
Published 5 months ago by allan letts
5.0 out of 5 stars wery well written and documented book
No doubt he is a legend, but the book really brings out the human side of this exceptional person.

Really engaging reading.
Published 10 months ago by Riccardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Road to Valour - Gino Bartali
A good read and a revelation on what Gino did during the war years. It shows that not all members of the RC Church his behind the walls of the Vatican but did their best to help... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Monty
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Must Read book
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... Read more
Published 17 months ago by hondated
5.0 out of 5 stars Special person.
If like me,you are a ww11 fan and a cyclist fan you should love this book,a great read about some one who was a special person.
Published 17 months ago by Mr. David Leedham
4.0 out of 5 stars road to valour
i cannot rate this book as i bought it for my cycling fanatic son.but he tells me he enjoyed it.
Published 19 months ago by x good customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Gino Il Pio - a gentleman and warrior
As an ardent cycle racing fan I was impressed by the coverage of the various races that Bartali contested. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Eric A. J. Prince
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent story
A wonderful story well told of a great and generous hearted athlete who did great work for the Jewish community during the war
Published 21 months ago by John Hector Scotson
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