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on 17 October 2007
I'm not usually this down on a book, but in my opinionated opinion, my feelings are warranted with this one.

After reading 'It's Not About the Bike' (BIKE) and 'Lance Armstrong's War' (WAR) I was keen to dig even deeper into the wonderfully operatic, entirely melodramatic world of professional cycling. Sadly, this book doesn't deliver.

I read about half of it, tried to force myself to skim that last half, then tossed it. Was thinking of donating it to our local library, but decided to recycle it instead. Delighted it's out of print while BIKE and WAR are not.

Biggest criticisms:

ONE: It appears the author had BIKE and WAR open on his desk. He steals liberally from them, only, to avoid plagiarism, waters the great stories down.

TWO: Although the author is touted as following the Tour for decades, his passion for the sport is...? Well, it's nonexistent. Anyone who repeatedly calls the peloton either 'the pack' or 'the group' shouldn't be writing books about The Tour.

THREE: This is a shallow book. In BIKE you get a vivid, internal presentation of Lance. In WAR you get the penetrating eye of a passionate investigative reporter. In 23 DAYS you get 'Lance pandering.' Lance is a great leader. Lance told his men what to do. Of course Lance would never do drugs. Ultimately it's just boring. Lance, like other human beings, is more complex than this.

FOUR: If WAR was written by an investigative reported, 23 DAYS was written by a student writing formulaically. 23 days, 23 chapters. The days off are awful as we learn about the author's infected thumb. Writing strategy: Lift what you can from BIKE and WAR; Google the towns the Tour passes through and throw in a little watered-down history; toss in a few meaningless conversations (that, strangely, indicate lack of access to the riders); etc.

FIVE: This book adds nothing new. Well, I did learn that some folks call the peloton 'the pack' and 'the group.'

Again, hugely disappointing. A waste of money and a waste of valuable reading time. Much better books are out there covering the very same material and time frame.

Dr. Kirtland Peterson
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on 26 October 2004
I'm no Tour de France afficionado but '23 Days in July' had me hooked. Breakneck time trials and devastating roadside pile ups play out against a shady backdrop of 'doping' whispering campaigns. I learnt that the Tour is way more than a sport. It's an incredible drama of human interaction (sometimes a matter of life and death). Each team leader asks for total, selfless support from his team of 'domestiques'. And when anyone takes a personal risk it threatens the whole group as in those tightly packed 'peletons' one skid can cause a huge crash.
It's no wonder Lance Armstrong won. Grit and self-belief is just as essential as fitness and, having fought off cancer, Lance has buckets of both. But '23 Days' shows Lance is not some automaton. The author is friendly with Lance and other competitors and his insider interviews really reveal their human sides. He also conveys the nail-biting excitement of a race in which anything could happen and where the tension keeps on mounting for 23 whole days!
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on 8 August 2008
This is a highly enjoyable book and a good look at the inner workings of the Tour de France.

While not as in depth as Dan Coyle's 'Tour de Force' the 'chapter a stage' format and clear explanations of how the race works make this book hard to put down. There are a few basic mistakes in the fine details but they don't detract from the book overall.

There is lots of information about other riders than Lance - including Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso which makes interesting reading with the events of the last few years.

Perfect for the novice cycling enthusiast but with enough detail for more experienced riders/readers.
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on 28 December 2005
I found this book a good insight into the tour. The race is broken down into stages and as well as describing the details of the stage, discusses the authors time during the 23 days with the long days and hard work as a media man covering the tour. This book also provides a back ground into several other key riders in the tour with non of the usual bias towards Lance. I found it throughly enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone interested in the Tour de France, or people who have seen the tour on tele and want to understand a little more.
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on 8 February 2008
I have nothing against Lance Armstrong. He is one of the greatest, no doubt. But this book is simply too much. Well, Armstrong won the race. But even he can't make the race alone. What about the 190 other riders?
John Wilcockson has written a book where only two persons are visible, out of the shadows; Lance and John... How can you treat your readers that way?
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on 27 February 2006
Gives a more inside view of the Tour of 2004 in general and Lance's race specifically.
A book for Tour fans and of course for Armstrong's...
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on 31 March 2006
This book will explain the tactics and skills involved in a major stage race like you nefer can. Buy it for your loved one who doesn't understand that a six hour cycling stage is entertainment. My wife read it in two days and now understands how it all works
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on 22 February 2005
If you're a cyclist of any sort, this book is an absolute "must-read". Although it focusses on Lance's winning of the 2004 tour, it also covers some aspects of the history of the tour, various anecdotes from a variety of sources, and looks at a host of other interesting aspects of the toughest cycle race of all.
An incredible book about an incredible human being.
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on 19 February 2016
Thank you A+++++++
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on 9 October 2007
One of the best cycling books on the market. Fascinating in detail, with interesting side lines about the other riders in the Tour and the mechanics of the how the race works. A great book.
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