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on 30 August 2009
Bill Fotherigham writes very well on cycling and I always look forward to his latest offering. For me this his best effort to date by some distance and also the best cycling biog I've read.

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.
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on 16 May 2015
An insight into the complicated life of Coppi and his rise from poverty to celebrity with a scandal included. The book does not pull back from the fact that he frequently used artificial means of improving his performances although he appears to have been head and shoulders above is opponents in his heyday. His death appears to have been the result of medical mismanagement with his doctors failing to diagnose and treat malaria caught on a hunting/cycling trip to Africa even when he had previously caught the disease during his time in the army. A good read giving an insight into how much effort cyclists like Coppi had to make to succeed in the sport. Well worth a read.
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on 29 September 2013
i could not put this book down! i love reading about the older days of cycling, and the story of faustino coppi is remarkable to say the least. i absolutely loved this book and fell in love with coppi and the story of the other cyclists of the time [bartali, geminiani] and love reading about their passion' of cycling, their troubles that is life itself and also their humour and banter whilst out on the rough roads of europe; there's some great little quotes that made me laugh out loud. i found it very easy to read, it was so well written which meant i could fly through it, but at the same time take everything in. i would also recommend "put me back on my bike" by william, i read that prior to getting stuck into this one. ive just ordered "merckx: half man..." and i bet that will be a crackin' read too... love merckx! i will now be on the look out for more coppi books to delve a little deeper into the legend of the campionissimo!
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on 4 September 2014
Well written and informative (as expected of this author), 'Fallen Angel' offers a fascinating insight into a conflicted hero, a society emerging from the social and physical ruin of post-WW2 Italy, and a sport that was, like the world, ready to enter a new era. Fausto was an idol to many but a flawed one, which, like Capt. Scott, makes him more human and more fascinating.
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on 17 January 2018
Having never read into the life of coppi I found this an excellent book by an author who's other books are really Well set out and balanced. Great read on to the next one.
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on 16 July 2015
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. The first winner on L'Alpe D'huez, a truly great and tragic rider who's only real fault was he didn't know when to retire.
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on 8 March 2012
I really enjoyed this book, I couldn't put it down and read it in less than two days! Fausto Coppi was a great champion, this book gives a wonderful insight of the great man, both on and off his bicycle. I have read and enjoyed other books by this author, this one is no exception. I can thoroughly recommend this book to anyone interested in cycling of the 1940's and 50's.
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on 15 April 2014
Fantastic story of how dificult it was to Live and Race around the war years, plus a personal insight into Coppi's life.
I would recomend this book to anyone who has an interest in how hard you had to be to be a professional Cyclist in these times.
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on 14 December 2017
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on 8 February 2010
This seems a very balanced view of Coppi's life and career in the saddle. Fotheringham doesn't hide the fact that Coppi's is a blemished personality, a tarnished hero, given his single minded pursuit of the domination of his sport. I enjoyed reading about the politics, the subterfuge and the machinations of cycling during the period, when the top riders like Coppi ensured that the race organisers saw to it that things went their way. Should a rider step out of line, bang! end of their career. Very well written, an enjoyable book for me.
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