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The Perfect Mile Paperback – 18 Mar 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Willow (18 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007173725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007173723
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.5 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘Bascomb succeeds in seducing the reader into sympathising with them all and feeling involved in their individual stories’ The Spectator

‘The Perfect Mile is as inspiring as it is accurate and evocative’ Athletics Weekly magazine

‘Bascomb lets his wonderful story and its characters do the talking’ Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Neal Bascomb was born in St Louis, MO and is a graduate of Miami University. He began his writing career for Euromoney magazine in London before returning to the States to work as a book publisher for four years. He helped start the literary agency Carlisle & Company. He is passionate about athletics and hockey.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. P. Bermingham on 1 Aug. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a smashing read. If, like me, you are aware of the Bannister record but not much more, then this book builds to an exciting creshendo, full of excitement and tension. The description of both the record breaking run and the race between Bannister and Landy at the "Empire" games in Vancouver leave you on the edge of your seat. It's a long time since I stayed up until 00:40 to finish a book.
Speaking of finishes, this is the only real negative about this book. The author lists all the mile record breakers since Bannister and it would have incurred only a little bit more effort to cover these achievements and double the size of the book!! Leaving it at the end of 1954 was a real disappointment.
Now, if you do understand more about Bannister, his races and the competition with Landy and Santee, then this book may not be so exciting. Its real interest lies in how the races are described and the tension that it generates. Yes I did know that Bannister broke the 4 minute mile but I had forgotton his performance in the "Empire" games and this race was so exciting to read. I would not have believed that someone could write a race almost as good as actually watching it.
So, if you want a book that just has to be read right to the end then this is the one for you. Full of nostalgia with distances such as 220 and 440 yards, real measurements not like these new fangled measures like 100 metres etc. Graphic descriptions of the cinder tracks and the footwear worn by the athletes are charming and not a drug test in sight (Oh, when I we're young.....). In addition there are a few wonderful anecdotes like the marathon runner who ran into a lamp post.....I'll say no more and let you read it for yourself.
Go and buy it, you will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who grew up with the middle distance rivalries of Bannister, Landy and Santee in the 50s or David Coleman's BBC commentary to Coe, Ovett and Cram in the 80s will be blown away by this masterpiece by Neal Bascomb.
You may know some, or all (or none-at-all reading some of the other reviews on Amazon.com!) of what happened back in the 50s when middle distance running and the four minute mile captured the headlines around the world. Of course there have been many incredible moments in middle distance running since and we can all list other great middle distance runners from Coe to Coughlan to El Guerrouj. But Bascomb has taken one of the great moments of the 20th Century and brought it back to life for you and I to relive, be blown away, and walk away at the end richer for it.
After you've read it, you'll want to tell everyone the story, but please dont. Leave the storytelling to Neal Bascomb
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Format: Hardcover
Neal Bascomb's account of the race for the first four minute mile was produced (just) in time for the 50th anniversary of this mile-stone (pun intended). It is a very easy read, and a highly enjoyable account of the intertwining events of three very different athletes. A factional account, the book is very much based on the events of the early 1950's, but with events described from the viewpoint of the three protagonists. Like a race, the book wills you to get to the end.

There are undoubtedly a few liberties taken with the details, but, after all, the aim is to tell a story; a story very much based on events that many would recall details of, or have seen old cinematic or still pictures of. Australian John Landy, American Wes Santee and the British Roger Bannister had all failed to meet expectations at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. If not failing to meet the expectations of others, then certainly they had failed to fulfil their own dreams. Yet their ensuing race against time caught the imagination of many, not limited to the three countries of their respective births.

Almost every schoolboy of 30 years ago would know that it was the Brit Roger Bannister who had the distinction of being the first to dip below the magical 4 minutes for the mile. In that, the book reads like a detective story in which, like Lieutenant Columbo, readers know the end. However, this does not take away from the telling of the tale. It seemed to matter little that the centre photographs show the result of the 1954 Empire games 1 miles race before you get to the narrative, so even that particular race has no mystery in it.

The world of the mid-1950's seems to be a long way from modern professional athletics.
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By Andrew on 27 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
Very enjoyable book and would make a good screenplay for a film. Obviously embellished for the novel which makes it a gripping read but some of the thoughts and conversations that the participants had could never have been known by the author.
A few glaring errors too. For instance when it is mentioned that there was a rumor to have Wes Santee compete against Bannister and Landy by satellite in Quantico, Virginia in 1954, that would be a bit difficult as the first artificial satellite didn't exist until 1957!! And the telecommunications ones only came around in the sixties. Again all stuff to embellish the book but take it with a pinch of salt.
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