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Lance Armstrong's War: One Man's Battle Against Fate, Fame, Love, Death, Scandal, and a Few Other Rivals on the Road to the Tour de France Paperback – Bargain Price, June 13, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When an athlete is as celebrated as Lance Armstrong, journalists tend to approach either with staggering awe or malicious schadenfreude. Refreshingly, Coyle (Hardball) displays neither. The journalist moved to Armstrong's training base in Spain to cover the months leading up to the cyclist's sixth Tour de France victory in 2004, and the resulting comfort level of Coyle with his subject is palpable. Armstrong emerges from these pages as neither the cancer-surviving saint his American fans admire, nor the soulless, imperialist machine his European detractors hate. Instead, he comes across as a preternaturally gifted athlete barely removed from the death-defying hellion he was as a teenager, fanatically disciplined, gregarious and generous but with a legendarily icy temper. Coyle sweeps over the basics of Armstrong's Texas childhood and fight with cancer, concentrating on his obsessive training—this is a sport where results are measured in ounces and microseconds. He's sometimes too loose with his writing, digressing as though he had all the time in the world, but he tightens up for the grand finale: the Tour. This work is honest, personal and passionate, with plenty to chew on for fans and novices alike.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* "He seems so simple from a distance," one cyclist described teammate Lance Armstrong. "But the closer you get, the more you realize--this is one very, very complicated guy." If Linda Armstrong Kelly's No Mountain High Enough (2005) revealed the impetus for son Lance's drive to succeed (anger at absent dad, support from overachieving mom), and Lance's own It's Not about the Bike (2000) revealed the medical odds he has courageously overcome, Coyle's excellent portrait of the six-time (and counting) Tour de France winner places Armstrong fully in his own element: the road to his victory in the 2004 Tour. The world knows, perhaps ad nauseam, Armstrong's uncommon will to prevail--"Lance wishes to swallow the world," as his trainer put it--but Coyle's account also shows a laser-sharp managerial style, in the face of monumental distractions, that would be the envy of any Fortune 500 CEO. Coyle, a former senior editor of Outside magazine, also gives full coverage of Armstrong's extensive support team, his Tour competitors, his focused training regimen, the questions over his suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs, and the (legal) strategies he employs to stay ahead of both the field and his own body's inevitable breakdown. Fueled by superb reporting and the built-in suspense of the 2004 Tour, Lance Armstrong's War is the equal of its distinguished and very complicated subject. And it's just in time for Armstrong's final Tour de France this July. Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (June 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060734981
  • ASIN: B001KBZ6ES
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #573,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel Coyle is the New York Times best-selling author of The Secret Race, The Little Book of Talent, The Talent Code, Lance Armstrong's War, Hardball: A Season in the Projects and the novel Waking Samuel. He is a former editor at Outside Magazine and a two-time National Magazine Award finalist, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. He lives in Ohio and Alaska with his wife, Jen, and their four children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 86 people found the following review helpful By bit quirky on June 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Coyle deserves a high place on the podium for his account of Lance Armstrong's successful attempt to win the 2004 Tour de France. Cycling fans will find the book to be like Samuel Abt on steroids, or perhaps Tom Wolfe on a bike. Coyle has even out-rolled Bob Roll, which is no mean feat. Nevertheless, there is a delicate balance at work here that won't be over the head of a casual reader.

He has a wonderful writing style that rollicks along without being over the top. There are serious, compelling moments and others that are nothing short of hilarious, like the belly-pinch, the ass check and the Belgie woof-shrug. Now and again we encounter a perfect pearl of prose, as when an apparently emaciated Iban Mayo climbs onto a tiny bike and quickly melds with it into a magical, lissome and powerful thing that stuns spectators into a reverent silence.

For much of the book we get the idea that Armstrong's world is one in which nothing can go wrong and everything is above taint and suspicion. He is an all-seeing, all-knowing, implacable and virtuous master of the universe. Even the notorious Dr. Ferrari gets an exculpatory portrait. He makes an appearance, not with the mysterious super-dope that much of Europe believes he is giving Armstrong, but with a piece of cheese. And a very nice cheese at that. Nothing to worry about there.

As he approaches the finish, though, Coyle gives us something much more nuanced. He takes up the allegations of Walsh and Ballester, however unsubstantiated, as well as those of Mike Anderson, Armstrong's former personal assistant. He describes the bitter split with Floyd Landis and provides perhaps the only first-person account of Armstrong's on-bike intimidation of Fiippo Simeoni.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan D. Wright on June 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am a life-long cyclist -- rode my first century ride at the age of eight and had boyhood dreams of growing up to ride in the Tour de France. I've been fascinated with the stars of the sport ever since hearing stories of Jacque Anquetil and Tom Simpson as a young boy.

Daniel Coyle has certainly captured the mad subculture of cycling in all its rich variation and humanity. His book "Lance Armstrong's War" is not so much a Lance Armstrong book as it is a psycho-sociologic essay on this beautifully insane sport. It is evident that Coyle did his homework as the details are convincing and relevant, and his characterizations of the key players, Armstrong, Hamilton, Ullrich, Landis et. al. ring true. Many such books are afraid to become fully immersed in the cycling world for fear of alienating the larger audience of the general population. Coyle, however, draws the reader into that world, explaining and defining the slang, the nuances, the tactics, the traditions, as needed. In so doing he has created a book that will be as entertaining and thought-provoking for the cycling aficionado as for the casual fan who only knows Lance's face from Subaru ads.

Finally, I consider this the best cycling book of its kind because of the author's apparent lack of an editorial agenda. This is written as a somewhat bibliographic narrative, just reporting the facts as perceived and experienced by the author. I contrast it with William Fotheringham's excellent book about Tom Simpson "Put Me Back On My Bike", which suffered from a need to draw some sort of moral or make conclusions for the reader. Daniel Coyle's book mirrors its subject in that it is what it is. You will either fall in love with it or be indifferent, you will either "get it" or you won't.
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77 of 87 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"In bike racing, as in poker, looking cool and impervious is the same as being cool and impervious. Racers thus spend a lot of time studying each other for what card players refer to as "tells": the imminent signs of cracking, the moment of supreme vulnerability when one good push can decide a race. Some tells are so obvious as to be considered amateurish"

The tells that were discussed in this book that I thought were the most fun were the tells that occurred on the first day of the European race, the Tour of Murcia. The belly pinch is one. Under the guise of a handshake, a rival or coach will grasp the target's hand, and tug them forward twisting their bodies lightly for access to their belly, to test for fat. The ass check is more of an art. You look from a distance. Riders in top form have asses that become small and vaguely feminine. After a while you have your rival memorized, what is big for them, small and somewhere in the middle.

These facts, these are the ones that make this book so valuable and so readable. I have been reading this book during the 2005 Le Tour. I now know the real Lance, his rivals and teammates, his loves, his mother, his step-fathers, his children, his friends, his likes and dislikes and so much information about the Le Tour 2004. This book has given credence to my love of Lance Armstrong as a Cancer Survivor, cyclist and all American hero.

Daniel Coyle, the author, has been able to find the right touch; to discuss what Lance Armstrong is all about. And, he has also allowed us into the inner world of the racing cyclist. Just what happens on tour? How do the cyclists prepare? What does it take to be a world class cyclist, and the best cyclist in the world? He has been given access into the inner workings of Le Tour teams.
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