The Games by The Times Hardcover – 27 Sep 2012
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The Times managed to ride the London zeitgeist like no other paper with its stunning wraparound covers for each day. 'The Games' reflects that dedication with a glorious selection of arty and iconic photographs. The previous London 2012 book I bought (and offered my opinion on) has photos that capture the moment, but these Times photographs capture the essence. Similarly, the write-ups from Times scribes including Matt Dickinson and Owen Slot are simply a class above the competition. It should be noted that they are drawn from the original Times reports. Some have been redrafted, commonly in minor ways, but if you own the original copies of The Times, there'll be little new here beyond the presentation. It also restricts itself to reports on the victories, near misses and hard-luck stories of the athletes, avoiding any of the secondary opinion pieces written in the paper over that famous fortnight. And 'The Games' does come with the subheading of 'Great Britain's Finest Sporting Hour', so if you're not part of Team GB, or of the legendary status of Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps or the American NBA all-stars basketball team, your best chance of a mention is if you got pummled by the mighty Brits. And, no, the Paralympics aren't mentioned.
Simon Barnes' new introduction is pitched perfectly and the day by day accounts tell an unforgettable illustrated story. The paper stock is of good quality, the text is clear and classy and the photographs are immaculately reproduced. If you're looking for a London 2012 book to add to someone's stocking this Christmas, or your own book shelf, this one looks to be heading for the centre of the podium. We are in for future treats if it ends up taking silver.
The photography captured the whole ethos and spirit of the Games.