Top critical review
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A Terrible Book
on 27 February 2005
On holiday in Scotland recently I chanced upon this book in a caffe. As a big fan of the Tour I was looking forward to picking up some background info on the earlier tours and some inside info on the more modern ones, I started watching the tour in the early '80's... a long time ago!
However - for my tastes - I found this book to be poorly written, I cannot understand how the editor let the author get away with some of the blunders.
Firstly - the author chooses to illustrate many of his finer points in either Latin, French or Italian, which I don't speak, so they were lost on this reader - I feel this is elitist and rude. Normally I don't find this kind of thing too much of an issue, but some pages they appear in almost every sentence!
Secondly - parallels with tour events are bizzarely drawn with historical figues, incidents, poets and other writers only the author (and presumably his friends) would appear to have experience of - again both elitist and rude. An illustration:
"Solemn official edicts against dopage were rather like the scene Conor Cruise O'Brien witnessed in Accra a couple of years earlier, when Kwame Nkrumah, with a straight face, told the Ghanaian parliament..."
I found this to be intolerable after a few chapters and feel like asking the publishers for my money back! The impression I was left with was that the author must be of very advanced years and was writing for another time and age - long gone...
The only redeming feature is that if you ignore the extras about France, culture, etc, ie when he writes about just the tour, the content is tollerable, but only just.
I cannot recomend this book.