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VINE VOICEon 27 October 2012
At this rate it won't be long before I have more London 2012 books than Michael Phelps has gold medals. Normal, non-obsessive archivists might be happy with just this one, however. My previous comments on The Games by The Times heralded that shiny-covered enjoyable read as a potential champion of London 2012 books released this year. Turns out it may have to play Yohan Blake to The Official Commemorative Book's Usain Bolt after all. I said back then, we were in for a treat if anything managed to beat it. Here's how I think the two weigh up against one another.

Writing

The Times' effort is more evocative of the mood that swept through London 2012 at the time, being as it is compiled from reports from the newspaper during the Olympics. Unlike The Times' day by day narrative, TOCB opts to go with an A-Z guide. It loses a little something for that when telling the story of London 2012. Where it gains an advantage, depending on what you're after, is by being more open to the achievements of competitors from other nations. The vast majority of events and winners are given time. You don't need to be part of Team GB, but it helps. Poster boy Tom Daley gets the photo for his bronze in the diving, but at least David Boudia gets headline status for beating him to the gold. Some notable moments are missing like the 1500m in the athletics. For some reason everyone wants to write Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi leaving his rivals for dust out of the history books. Well, not quite because there's a complete medal listings index in the back.

TOCB also benefits from a foreword from the main man himself, Seb Coe, and (not the last time this will be a factor) the inclusion of the Paralympics that other publications have chosen to neglect is a major boon. The Paralympics are also joined by an overview of the build-up and the London 2012 Festival.

Photography

The Times' photography and wraparound covers became a star of London 2012. It's therefore to my surprise that TOCB has managed to equal it in its pages. The shots here show London 2012 at its best and the larger size of the book is used to great effect. Whereas I think The Times is a better read (albeit confined to the Olympics) and blessed with fine imagery, once again TOCB's inclusion of the Paralympics (which was much sunnier!) gives it an edge. The only thing that's missing is a comprehensive section on the victory parade (there is one double-page photo of Team GB outside Buckingham Palace).

Presentation

There's nothing to fault here apart from the official London 2012 font looking as cheap and tacky as it ever did - much like the logo. It remains a legitimate part of London 2012, though. Ironically, The Times is better off for not having to cheapen its appearance with it. Other than that, TOCB is a high quality coffee table book. Large, well designed and with lovely, smooth paper. Exactly what you'd want.

Verdict

Taking London 2012 beyond the Olympics to give the Paralympics the space they deserve is TOCB's trump card. Chapters on the seven years of preparation and the London 2012 festival flesh out the most comprehensive guide yet. If you haven't already guessed from the above, having previously stated that The Games by The Times had the potential to take gold, I'm almost embarrassed to now say that for most this will be the people's champion. And it will be a worthy one. Credit to all involved for doing a terrific job with the official licence and covering every aspect of an unforgettable summer. So I'll end this review in a familiar fashion for me. If something else comes along to take gold now... well, we'll need to start conducting doping tests on these publishers.
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VINE VOICEon 22 October 2012
What a great book this is! So many moments captured in the photos and lots of information about the different events. It brought back all the memories of a wonderful summer and will be a great memento of the Olympics and Paralympics. Made me feel quite emotional just reading the book! Highly recommended.
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on 22 October 2012
this is a great book that captures the best bits of the 2012 olympics and paralymics as well as the history of the games
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on 24 October 2012
The long wait for this book to come out was well worth it. What a fantastic hefty book with all the highlights from this summers Olympic and Paralympic games. As a Games Maker, the pictures from Eton Dorney which is where I was volunteering, brought all the emotion and atmosphere back, and I am sure I can spot myself on the Stands, clapping as Glover and Stanning won our first gold. As well as everything you could possibly want from the 2012 Games, there is also a lot of history and useful facts. I couldn't recommend this highly enough.
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on 27 October 2012
This must be the definitive memory for those who were able to visit the games in 2012
The book.....Printed and published in Great Britain...provides an excellent record of the run up to the event and is full of detail and facts about the games as they happened.
The book is destined to be treasured and passed on through my family for future generations to relive the experience

If you buy no other memory of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics then this book is a "Must Have"
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on 23 October 2012
What an amazing book! The pictures from every event bring back fantastic memories of this historic summer. This is a fantastic keepsake for anyone who connected with the games this year. Events, venues, athletes : they're all here and together it makes one amazing read!
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on 2 November 2012
A great fact full book of what was a Great Olympic /Paralympic Game an ideal treasure for years to come
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VINE VOICEon 3 November 2012
The London 2012 Games produced many special moments and memories from qualifying rounds, to the medals. From the feats of endurance and strength to the eye catching venues, the beauty of this book is it captures them all.

This is a perfect size book, big enough to a luxurious read but still small enough to hold comfortably.

Its all in here, the pictures, the records, the facts and the figures... if you want to remember the Games then this for you.
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on 5 December 2012
For someone who initially hated the idea of the 2012 Olympics coming to London and the UK, hates sport and wasn't interested in watching it on TV, I became totally devoted to it and this book is an absolute must have as a reminder of such a successful event. Wonderful pictures and a really lovely book.
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on 6 November 2012
Having worked as a Games Maker at the Paralympics having this superb book helps to keep fresh those memories of an amazing period. I believe this book captures the enthusiasm and vibrancy of the Summer of 2012 together with the behind-the-scenes efforts that went to make it happen
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