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Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine Paperback – March 15, 1997

ISBN-13: 000-0875964575 ISBN-10: 0875964575 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; 2 edition (March 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875964575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875964577
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Written in 1977, this biography was evidently resurrected because of a recent TV special and two planned motion pictures about the Oregon long-distance runner, whose life was cut short in 1975 when he crashed his sports car at age 24. The book gives details of Prefontaine's efforts on the track?where he set many national records, some even while in college?and demonstrates his dedication to running, but it tells readers little about his personal life, perhaps because, as Jordan points out in the introduction, "His pace was so frenetic... that his deep friendships outside of family and love relationships were few." The two major problems Pre encountered as an athlete were his inability to do as well in Europe as at home and his annoyance with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and its demand that amateur athletes accept no formal support, although, the author notes, many meets gave under-the-table payments to top box-office draws. Jordan, who is on the staff of Track & Field News, captures his subject's charisma, but his book seems incomplete. There are six sidebars about Prefontaine by noted runners including Alberto Salazar, Mary Slaney and Frank Shorter. Photos. (Apr.) FYI: The film Prefontaine is playing at theaters now. Disney will release a film on the runner later this year.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

University of Oregon track star Prefontaine finished fourth in the [5000 meter] race at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Beyond that, he set numerous American records. But it was his personality, not his records, that set him apart. Where his opponents were dry and colorless, Pre was brash and cocky. His tragic death in a 1975 one-car accident established him as the James Dean of distance running, and the release of two 1997 motion pictures about him secures this status. Jordan's updated edition of a 1977 biography is acceptable as sports bios go, but there are too many stride-by-stride race accounts. Still, Jordan does create a vivid sense of Prefontaine's driven personality. Peppered throughout are revealing comments from rivals, teammates, and coaches, including legendary Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman. On balance, this is an intelligent glimpse of an athlete who is destined to be more well known today than he was in his lifetime. Expect demand. Wes Lukowsky

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book to anyone who desires to run.
Tim White
The book "Pre" by Tom Jordan is an unbelievable life story of the famous distance runner Steve Roland Prefontaine.
Sherry
Chances are, he or she will finish it wanting to go out and hit the road for a good, hard run.
Nelson Aspen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Bill Consolo on October 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
Next to my Mother who raised me Steve Prefontaine is my only hero. For the last 23 years I've been a distance runner and there's been plenty of days when it hasn't been easy. But everytime I pick up this book and read a few pages I'm out the door before I know it. This book isn't just about the greatest distance runner that the US ever produced. It's about believing in yourself and giving all you have no matter what you do in life. I have an old copy that sits on my desk and no matter how many times I read it I'm still inspired. Steve Prefontaine lives on through this book. It tells the story of not only his triumphs on the track but off it as well. His legacy are the people who he touched and embrace what he stood for, courage.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By GDS on October 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift"--Steve Prefontaine. In his work 'Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend", author Tom Jordan skillfully weaves this nexus quote, along with numerous other anecdotes and observations from Pre's contemporaries, to form a rich and informative tapestry in words of the life of Steve Prefontaine. Jordan's narrative is a balanced blend of objective race results and the subjective, and at times highly emotional, recollections of the people who knew Pre the best; his friends, family, and, perhaps most importantly, his competitors.
From his humble origins in Coos Bay, Oregon to his untimely death in a 1975 car-crash, the book follows Pre through his workouts and training, his glory days at the University of Oregon, his 4th place finish at the 1972 Munich Olympics, his battle against "shamateurism" and the Amateur Athletic Union, to his work for the then fledgling Nike. In the end, the reader is left with the images of both Steve Prefontaine the runner---spirited, fiery, and driving---and Steve Prefontaine the man---caring, dedicated, energetic, and independent.
This book will be enjoyed by both runners and non-runners alike. As Pre said: "Some people create with words, or with music, or with brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run...it's style...it's being creative." Tom Jordan's work not only captures the essence of the revolutionary Steve Prefontaine but also ultimately measures up to his lofty paradigm.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
I loved this book and it is very easy to read. This book up to today is still my favorite
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
Tom Jordan's book Pre: the story of america's Greates Running legend Stever Prefontaine, is a very inspiring story of the life, and tragic death of one of the greatest American distance runners ever. The book starts before Steve (as he was called then) even began running. In Jr. High when he saw the High School cross country team runn by he said "What kind of crazy nut would spend two or three hours a day just running?" Soon he became hooked on running. And the story takes off from there.
Tom Jordan's writing in places still gives me chills every time I read parts of the book. The description of Pre's Olympic 5000m final is one of these sections. Even after reading the book over ten times, I still get chills reading the chapter on this race.
if it was possible, I would have rated this book a 15, but the scale only goes up to 10. If you are a runner of any kind, even a sprinter, or someone who jogs evey morning, and could never break 9 minutes for the mile, I would suggest reading this book. Perhaps it will inspire you to run faster, and set a new PR.
I'm going to end this review with the same sentance that Pre used to end talks to children: "To give anythig less than your best is to sacrafice The Gift."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Bennett (gsb@harborside.com) on February 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
In PRE, Tom Jordan uses common and simple language to chronicle the life of the incredible Steve Prefontaine. Whereas this book does not attempt to be a literary masterpiece, Mr. Jordan has done the reader an enormous favor by putting between covers this heartbreaking story of remarkable human will and spirit, by which we may all feel motivated and empowered and certainly inspired. Of special significance to me, a native Oregonian, is the fact that Steve Prefontaine was a true Oregon boy from a small Oregon town. Steve's characteristics of being independent, hard working, a bit of a rebel, and charismatic all at once, embody the pride and essence of what it means to be a true Oregonian. The story of PRE makes me want to live each day more fully in some way, rather than to simply exist. For the athlete and non-athlete alike, this story is well worth reading. It may even change your life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael DENNISUK VINE VOICE on May 4, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THE SPIRIT OF STEVE PREFONTAINE CONTINUES TO CAPTURE THE IMAGINATION OF AMERICA'S YOUTH. IT'S BEEN MORE THAN 25 YEARS SINCE PRE DIED TRAGICALLY BUT HE IS STILL THE HERO TO NEARLY EVERY HIGH SCHOOL DISTANCE RUNNER. TOM JORDAN'S BOOK HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE. THE STORY OF PRE'S LIFE READS LIKE A WELL CONSTRUCTED NOVEL. THE TRACK GEEK'S LIKE MYSELF ENJOY THE WORKOUT AND RACE RECREATIONS. MR. JORDAN'S BOOK IS A TREASURE.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joe Sherry on January 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a rather slim biography of American distance runner Steve Prefontaine. He died when he was only 24, but he held every American record between 2000 meters and 10,000 meters. He had not yet hit his prime. Even 25 years after his death, he still inspires runners today.
This volume is not so much a biography of his life as it is a recap of his running career. This book was published before either Prefontaine or Without Limits had hit theaters. While examining the career of Pre, we see a much clearer picture of who he was and we see facets of Pre that the films did not show (as well as things that the films got wrong). While he did have problems with the AAU (somewhat glossed over in the book), he did get to race against some of the top international competition that the movies claim he never raced against (except for the 1972 Olympics). In fact, he did race against Viren and other top athletes over in Europe.
This is a short book, less than 200 pages, and I'm not sure it would be interesting to anyone not interested in running already. But for me, a former collegiate cross country runner....i really enjoyed this book.
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