Racing Past

The History of Middle and Long Distance Running

Racing Past Book Reviews


1 to 10 of 18 articles
Page 1,2
Three Books on Emil Zatopek

...One of  Kozik?s main techniques is to include anecdotes for dramatic effect. For example, he has an unfriendly and embarrassed flag bearer lead Zatopek as the sole Czech participant in a military games. Then when Zatopek wins, the flagbearer instantly becomes his biggest fan. Many of the anecdotes, as well as the dialogue used in them, may well be apocryphal, but they dramatise effectively.  Wh...

Glenn Cunningham: Two Books

...Two quite different books: one is an autobiography; the other is a biography. One is long, one short. One is selective, the other inclusive. But despite their differences, both are invaluable to those interested in the life of great American miler Glenn Cunningham.  Cunningham?s short autobiographical book, written 40 years after he retired from track, has inspiration as its main aim. It is pub...

Chairman of the Boards: Eamonn Coghlan

...  Chairman of the Boards is one of the best runner?s autobiographies. With the help of George Kimball, Eamonn Coghlan has given us deep insights into what is involved in becoming a world-class runner and in staying at the top for over a decade. He is open about his failures, errors, and weaknesses to the point of confession. He is perceptive about the people in his life, his family, his support...

The Miracle Mile: Stories of the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth GamesBeck, Jason

...  The structure of The Miracle Mile is based on the eight days of the Games.  After two chapters of introduction, there is a chapter for each day of the Games. The first two chapters give a rich background on the preparation for the Games and introduce the three main athletes covered throughout the book: Bannister, Landy and Jim Peters. These two chapters are full of interesting material and  r...

The Impossible Hero: The Life of Gordon PirieBooth, Dick

...A year later I met him at Boson in Sweden and made the following notes in my running diary: ?In the evening Gordon Pirie turned up with his wife and Michel Bernard. Gordon told us that Jack Crump had been worrying him about expenses again.? Gordon raced against Bernard the next night in Stockholm and was fifth in a Mile. My diary continued: ?We met Gordon after and he told us how Bernard had el...

Chris Brasher: The Man Who Made the London MarathonBryant, John

...In fact John Bryant tries hard to get to the essence of Brasher?s complex personality. As Roger Bannister says in the Foreword, Brasher ?had a manic energy and single-mindedness that brooked no opposition.? Such qualities lead to gold medals and success in public life, but they also lead to conflict and hurt. Bryant has talked to many people who had disputes with Brasher. Tony Ward, the British...

The Destiny of Ali MimounButcher, Pat

...This beautifully written biography is not written the idolatry style often used in sports biographies.  Rather, Butcher has taken a ?perspective that is rarely attempted in a piece about a sporting hero.? This perspective has a strong historical and sociological focus. Such an approach means that the actual athletic performances are not described in detail. Though the focus is on the Mimoun him...

Quicksilver: The Mercurial Emil ZatopekButcher, Pat

...  Butcher is well known in running circles as a knowledgeable and empathetic writer. Best known for his The Perfect Distance (2004) that describes the Coe-Ovett rivalry and for his Globerunner website, he has been publishing for 35 years. He is therefore well qualified to write about Zatopek. But he didn?t depend solely on his qualifications; he also spent a lot of time in the Czech Republic me...

Run to WinCapozzoli, Charlie

...Run to Win tells how he emerged from a tight family background to become one of the very few post-war American distance runners to reach international level. In his second year at high school he took aim at the school Mile record of 4:26. As a Senior in 1949 at Madison Square Garden he improved his mile time from 4:42 to 4:26.3. The headline in the New York Times read: Capozzoli Shatters Meet R...

As If Running on AirColquhoun, ed., David

...This superbly produced 282-page large-format book must rank as one of the most finely produced books on running. David Colquhoun, Curator of Manuscripts at New Zealand?s Alexander Turnbull Library, describes Lovelock?s journals in his fine Introduction: ?An entry appears for every race. Some are brief?little more than notes. Others are eloquent and reflective. All show an intense commitment.? (...