Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
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.
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