The Tour de France: A Cultural History and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$14.98
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Some wear to cover. Binding tight. Some highlighting/underlining and/or marginal markings. Ships fast from Amazon!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Tour de France: A Cultural History Hardcover – July 17, 2006

9 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$22.93 $3.23

Save up to 40% on professional, scholarly and scientific resources.
Wiley's Summer Savings Event
Save up to 40% on professional, scholarly and scientific resources. Learn more.

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Shows that sport has been for us moderns the ultimate tabula rasa into which we pour our hopes, fears, prejudices and self-interest." - Robert A. Nye, author of Crime, Madness, & Politics in Modern France and Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France "A major new interpretation of France's most famous sporting event. For the first time the Tour de France has been fully and carefully placed within the wider context of French history." - Richard Holt, author of Sport and Society in Modern France and Sport and the British"

From the Inside Flap

"Shows that sport has been for us moderns the ultimate tabula rasa into which we pour our hopes, fears, prejudices and self-interest."—Robert A. Nye, author of Crime, Madness, & Politics in Modern France and Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France

"A true gem of a book. A terrific scholar and an engaging writer."—Dean MacCannell, author of The Tourist and Empty Meeting Grounds

"A major new interpretation of France's most famous sporting event. For the first time the Tour de France has been fully and carefully placed within the wider context of French history."—Richard Holt, author of Sport and Society in Modern France and Sport and the British

"Chris Thompson has written an engaging, nicely-paced account of France's world-famous cycle race: his writing is lively and full of detail and excitement. But he has done much more than simply narrate the story of the Tour. His book sets the race—its history, its participants and its meaning—firmly in its shifting national and cultural contexts. The sections dealing with professional cycling as a form of labor and with the Tour's place in France's troubled twentieth century are absolutely first-rate: insightful and original. This is the best history of the Tour that we have and are likely to have for many years, a work of scholarship that deserves to find a broad general readership."—Tony Judt, author of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 398 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st edition (July 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520247604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520247604
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,457,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bill McGann on January 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In writing The Tour de France: A Cultural History, Christopher Thompson has done that very rare thing: he has increased our net knowledge of the Tour de France. This is extraordinary given that the Tour has been the subject of writers for over 100 years. Mountains of books have been written about the Tour.

This isn't a book devoted to who dropped whom on what climb. Thompson is fishing in deeper waters. Why is the Tour the way it is? How has it affected French culture and how did French culture affect the Tour? The answers to these questions are important to any cycling fan who wants to know why he has to get up early in the morning to watch a race that is taking place 9 time zones away.

Lance Armstrong voiced his anger that the Tour de France took place in France. Yet, the Tour could only have grown and matured in France. Britain, as a result of the industrial revolution, clustered its population in cities. This made it perfect for stadium sports but ill-suited for cycle road racing. France remained a rural country well into the twentieth century making it perfect for the traveling show that is the Tour. Also, the Tour encouraged and celebrated foreign winners while the Giro connived at denying foreign riders a fair shot at victory. Moreover, the Tour was founded by a strangely gifted man, Henri Desgrange, who guided the Tour from its infancy to sturdy maturity with an iron-fisted despotism. Thompson analyzes the changes to French society that made mass-spectator sport possible at the end of the nineteenth century and how Desgrange exploited them.

The Tour de France, being a cultural history, discusses at length the riders and their economic and social position in society and how it has changed over the years.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
I enjoy French culture and I'm a huge fan of the Tour de France so this book was a perfect read for me. It opened my eyes to the concept that major sporting events are an ingrained part of national culture and politics. For instance, who would have known that there's a connection between the Dreyfus affair and the Tour de France? Or that the French communists thought of the racers as their poster children?

The level of detail in the author's research was outstanding. And although the book seems to have been written primarily for an academic audience, it's not a difficult read at all.

I truly appreciated the section on "The Hero Dehumanized: The Bicycle Racer as Machine" as well as the latter portions on modern-day doping and use of technology. Because of the length of the races, the repetitive nature of riding a bike and the use of mechanized equipment, pro and amateur racers, in my opinion, sometimes take on the "persona" of a machine. That is such a shame because I'd much rather watch a fallible human have one stellar performance than a robot win over and over again. That's why my number one favorite moment in the modern Tour is Christophe Agnolutto's stage win in 2000.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ronald E. Buchanan on January 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
and if you want to understand something as enduring as the Tour de France, you need to understand something about what it meant to the people who paid for, participated in and supported it.

A very good book (and a quite remarkable work of history for an author who seems to have spent a bit too much time in the halls of an English department.)
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, this book is called "The Tour de France," yet it's not about the race in particular; it's about the race as part of the French psyche in a much more general sense. If you want to know who won a certain stage of a particular race, then this is not the book for you. But when you reach the point in your understanding of the race where you want to know how it fits into the very fabric of Frecnh life -- be it in the areas of food, labor or politics -- then this is the book for you. As the French used to say, "For 11 months of the year, Charles De Gaulle runs France, but during July it is[race director] Jacques Goddet."

A very complete examination of the race's impact on French society -- just look at the number of footnotes there are.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a unique book about the history, technology and culture of the Tour De France from is origins in city to city events in the late 1800's to the current scandals about drug doping. Thompson discusses the men and the machines as they mirror the changing society around them. This is a must read for anyone interested in the Tour and the evolving story about performance enhancing drugs in professional bicycling. The questions raised are not unique to bicycling and may be asked of all amateur and professional sports.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?