Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi Hardcover – 4 Jun 2009
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A remarkable biography of 'the most popular Italian sportsman of the twentieth century' by the acclaimed author of Put Me Back on My BikeSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
The reason for this is that, in this book, he avoids the usual formula of the racing and results and a potted history of the person. Insofar as the results are concerned, cycling is hamstrung by the palmares of Eddy Merckx, which is like like comparing the batting averages of Don Bradman against everyone else. There is no comparison: the gulf is too large. What he has done instead is weave a multi faceted story: the rags to riches story of the poor boy made good; the complex rivalry between himself and Gino Bartali; and of course his 'interesting' domestic life that polarised Italy. All this is interspersed against the historical, social and political upheaval of the war and after, and the social mores of Italy moving from the control of the church to a secular society. Ultimately, the story of the man is more interesting than the career.
Coppi and Bartali were two of Italy's greatest ever sports stars and the various photos that turn up in this book and elsewhere are iconic. They attained film star status with the media attention they attracted. And it makes me wonder what results they would have achieved but for the intervention of the War. Fotheringham also did a good thing in managing to get Raphael Geminiani onside as it's apparent he's good for a quote and very opinionated; and, quick to take umbrage like he did with Paul Howard's book on Jacques Anquetil.
I would recommend this book to any sports fan, not just to those interested in cycling because the sporting angle becomes subsumed in the life story, which makes it all the more worthy.
In March 1943 Coppi joined the Italian army and was captured in North Africa by the British the following month. He was repatriated to Italy in 1945 and in July that year won the Circuit of the Aces in Milan. Cycling was the centre of huge media interest with Coppi and Bartali its main stars. From the late nineteenth century drug use was widespread in many sports and none more so than cycling. The situation was so widespread that in 1930 the Tour de France rule book reminded competitors that the organisers would not provide them with drugs. Coppi was open about the use of amphetamines, although none were ever found on him.
The rivalry with Bartali started at the beginning of Coppi's career. He joined Bartali's team in 1940 winning the Giro d'Italia by a massive margin over his team leader. Barteli was not amused. Bartali was a southerner, a traditionalist, a conservative with a leaning towards Church inspired Christian Democracy. It was said that Bartali relied on praying while cycling Coppi relied only on his body.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great book and amazing story. A must for anyone with interest in cycling.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
I tattooed this guys face for his love of life and the hard wayPublished 16 months ago by Bjørn Erik Kleiven
Good service, but unfortunately it wasn't as good as other biographies I have read, it might have been the author's style.Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
A fantasic biography of a legend - I leaernt so much about a man who was often cited as an inspiration by the greatest riders of the last 40 years. Read morePublished 22 months ago by RBC