Customer Reviews


320 Reviews
5 star:
 (177)
4 star:
 (101)
3 star:
 (29)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fame, Fortune and Deceit!
As a sports fan but not really a biking fan, I followed Armstrong with admiration and pride. How could you not. But I obviuosly did not appreciate the magnitude of his repeated success in the Tour de France and ultimately the PR apparatus and it's enablers had me fooled like millions of others. This book explains why we were all suckers. I can't think of another sport...
Published 16 months ago by Twndggys

versus
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent workmanlike job but nothing new
In bicycle racing there is a position known as the "domestique"; he is not the star but is the solid journeyman who is the best of those servicing the main man but cannot rise to the heights themselves. This book is kind of like a "domestique". It's solid, thorough, uncontroversial, and effectively marshals the facts surrounding the downfall of Lance Armstrong, who must...
Published 16 months ago by pingufreddy


‹ Previous | 1 232 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fame, Fortune and Deceit!, October 19, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As a sports fan but not really a biking fan, I followed Armstrong with admiration and pride. How could you not. But I obviuosly did not appreciate the magnitude of his repeated success in the Tour de France and ultimately the PR apparatus and it's enablers had me fooled like millions of others. This book explains why we were all suckers. I can't think of another sport that this con could have been pulled off in such a systematic and morally void manner at all levels. I don't know what to think of Armstrong. It's hard to square his positives and negatives, as an incredibly dedicated super athlete, inspirational cancer surviver, fundraiser and by account good father versus the pathological cheat, narcistic playboy and ruthless protector of his reputation, including his willingness to crush his detractors. Even sympathetic co-conspirator Floyd Landis was responsible for his own fall and you could say that the sport, the sponsors and participants deserved their reckoning. The author is right to show that money was the linchpin of this tale of deceit, but vanity and ego are a close second. The author did his homework and the story flows well from chapter to chapter. There are so many characters it's hard to keep track but it doesn't take your eye off the real subject. Everyone in the college or pro level of any sport in any capacity, sponser, coach, etc, should read this book. It's a sad story all around.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


69 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars third in the series of Lance downfall books, and not the best, October 24, 2013
This is an amazing period for cycling fans who followed the ascendance of Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis in the 1990s and 2000s and marveled as they were discredited and fell from grace, condemned as cheaters. For those reading on the topic, the first great text is the USADA's own report on cheating at the U.S. Postal team. It's vivid, detailed, shocking (or was when it was released), and freely available online. Then came Tyler Hamilton's book, The Secret Race, which describes his own decision to cheat and how it all fell apart. If you are going to read only one book on this topic, Hamilton's is so far the best. Now we get Wheelmen, by two reporters from the Wall Street Journal. The last in this round will probably be Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong by Juliet Mancur of the New York Times. That one comes out next year.

These books overlap each other, and a reader might reasonably wonder whether or not it makes sense to read more than one. For me, the answer is very much yes. The USADA report is amazing as a primary source. Hamilton's book gives additional, vivid detail including an extended discussion of how and why great riders chose to cheat, and what it felt like when they did. It also provides some color on Thomas Wiesel, Chris Carmichael, and other players in the doping story who were not discussed in the USADA report because they weren't directly involved. Wheelmen, by contrast, purports to be about the "business" of Lance Armstrong and his doping conspiracy.

What's good? Lots of research, very strong conclusions. Where Tyler Hamilton hints that Wiesel was dirty, this book states plainly that he supported doping. The USADA never addressed the question of why the UCI seemed to back Armstrong despite recurring evidence that he was cheating, but this book spells out the various ways in which Hein Verbruggen was corrupted by Amstrong and his backers. The book reveals things about Armstrong's wives and girlfriends helping in, or at least witnessing the doping that I had never heard before. (Evidently, Sheryl Crow was among those who ultimately testified against him).

What's not so good? First, I found the spin of this as a "business" book to be farcical. We all already know how much money pro athletes make, and we know they make it through team and sponsor payments. We know how rich and powerful people and organizations can intimidate weaker and poorer ones. This material, which supposedly differentiates this book, is not interesting in the least. Second, I found the book oddly mean-spirited. Not only Lance, but many other riders besides, are portrayed without any compassion at all. With few exceptions, their cheating is portrayed as stemming from avarice and a sort of sociopathic commitment to victory at all costs, with little or no recognition that these men may have been suffering and afraid and that they probably made complex moral calculations that contained, in all likelihood, a fair amount of regret. Other journalists and the public are, in this book, routinely mocked for having fallen for Armstrong's lies. Armstrong himself is portrayed as being a sociopath from a young age. Maybe he was, but I bet a more nuanced portrayal would be fair.

Third, the text shows some signs of being rushed. Some people are introduced more than once in nearly identical terms. There are typos, including a comment on page 279 about $19 million of the USADA's $14 million budget coming from the government.

I look forward to Juliet Macur's book, and hope it answers some of the remaining mysteries of the story. Why precisely did the U.S. prosecutor drop its case in early 2012? Just how much did Thomas Wiesel know about what was going on? Did Armstrong actually bribe the UCI in 2002? Did Nike bribe Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up a 1999 positive test by Armstrong?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


52 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About more than Lance Armstrong, October 15, 2013
By 
City Girl (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever (Hardcover)
I read this book and found it to be a completely gripping and fascinating story. At this point whether Lance did it or didn't is well known, but how he did it, how he got away with it and the inner circle that helped him perpetrate it, are revealed in great detail here. A portrait of Armstrong emerges that is more complex than previously established but what really grabbed me was the conspiracy narrative.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The authors do a masterful job in telling this story - an extraordinary book, October 24, 2013
This review is from: Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever (Hardcover)
Simply stated, this is an absolutely terrific book that reads more like a novel than non-fiction.

For those who think they know the story I think that you will be surprised. My reaction to this book is the same as to the Steve Jobs biography written by Walter Issacson, which my mother gave me as a gift about a year ago. I was a little concerned when I got it because I thought I knew enough about Jobs, Apple, PC industry history etc. for it to not be interesting. Of course, I was wrong because Issacson tells us all a lot of things that we didn't know about the man. In that regard, this book is similar in that there is much more depth and breadth to this story than I ever knew. I will give the reviewers who claim they learned nothing new the benefit of the doubt, but unless they were somewhere part of the inner workings of the cycling world in a profound way, it is hard to believe that this could be possible.

The authors piece together the history of this "conspiracy" by starting at the beginning and introducing the main characters that get the ball rolling. What is surprising is how the characters change but the "character" of Lance Armstrong really doesn't as his career ascends. From living here in Texas I knew to some degree what a jerk Armstrong was - anybody paying attention could tell that he was as ruthless as a mob boss in trying intimidate people who were working with the investigators responsible for his case based on the things that came out over the last couple of years. The authors show that eventually Armstrong made too many enemies for the "conspiracy" story to stay contained despite the fawning adoration of much of the sports media (including many who should have known better, notably Buzz Bissinger, Sally Jenkins and Rick Reilly) and the general public who (understandably) viewed Armstrong as an icon. One certainly can't help but conclude that the formidable Public Relations and legal apparatus that worked in support of Armstrong coupled with the corporate sponsors who refused until the end to withdraw their support (Nike comes off as particularly unethical and crass) almost allowed Armstrong to get by with his completely fabricated public image even as a number of former colleagues were unloading their consciences (while at the same time reducing their own legal exposure) and telling the truth. Thank the Lord this man was ultimately exposed as one of the great frauds in athletic history, notwithstanding the good that the charity organization he founded has accomplished.

I suppose that part of my intense enthusiasm for this book is biased is that unlike so many things in the real world, ultimately the good guys (and they outnumbered by the "bad guys" that are so brilliantly described in this story) prevail at the end.

Like others, I couldn't put this one down. It is my favorite book of the year and the one of the best I've ever read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent workmanlike job but nothing new, October 22, 2013
By 
pingufreddy (san jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever (Hardcover)
In bicycle racing there is a position known as the "domestique"; he is not the star but is the solid journeyman who is the best of those servicing the main man but cannot rise to the heights themselves. This book is kind of like a "domestique". It's solid, thorough, uncontroversial, and effectively marshals the facts surrounding the downfall of Lance Armstrong, who must be the king of all assh@(es. It is not however, either revelatory or particularly interesting.

After Oprah, every sentient person on the planet knows - or could easily find out - that Armstrong doped and that he is a serial liar. So, what dos this book add to the known? Not much. Personally, I thought the best doping defense Armstrong had going was the claim that every body else did it too so the doping effectively cancelled out and his natural ability/superiority made the difference in the Tours and in the triathlons. The book makes me think he may have a point. In any given Tour it appears that there are 5-8 riders who could actually win the thing. The most persistent Armstrong challenger was Jan Ullrich (Germany) whom Armstrong routinely blew away in the mountain stages. In 2010 ( I think) the authors report that a bag of Ullrich's blood was found in a blood doping doctor's fridge being readied for transfusion (along with Ullrich's blood were those of other top riders).

This poses a fundamental question: did Armstrong beat Ulrich and others because he was a better athlete competing against equally doped cyclists; or, was he a just a better doper? The book sheds no light on this question and others that percolate so readily from the Armstrong story. The book interestingly recounts that Armstrong excelled at various triathlons, beating world record holders while still a novice. Was he doping then? No answer.

There is , in short, not a whole lot of material/educated guesses/opinion on what made Armstrong different as a competitor. I left the book convinced that he was a cheat and a liar but I knew that already. What I really would have liked to know - and it may well just be unknowable - is how the drugs affected Armstrong's performance relative to his apparently doping elite competitors whom he destroyed year after year. Is he the product of drug usage or was everybody doping to the same degree and he was a better athlete on drugs just as as he would have been had no one doped. Exploration of this and a number of other questions would have made the book more interesting.

If you want to know the facts of Lance Armstrong's fall this book is great. It does not, however, ask any of many questions that would have made it far more interesting and less like a very long Vanity Fair article.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally - the Details, October 17, 2013
This review is from: Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever (Hardcover)
Amazing book that explains in detail what happened during the Armstrong years and beyond - I watched the interview on Oprah of Armstrong supposedly telling all - unfortunately, he never did, and I kept wondering, how did he get away with it, with all the "clean" blood tests? How did any if these riders get away with it? This book explains it in great detail in a fascinating, gripping report that reads like an unbelievable mystery novel that is revealed - I was one of those last defenders, but no more after the interview - this book justifies my deep resentment in this person that I once called hero - recommend this book highly!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read. Could not put it down., October 28, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love cycling, am a cyclist and was a huge fan of Lance. My husband and I traveled to France to watch him compete in the 2004 TDF and have ridden in several of his charity rides. We live in Austin and he was a big presence here. I'd heard a lot of this already; however, the extent of the deception, intrigue, harassment, cover-ups, legal maneuvering and absolute pulling of the wool over the eyes of the public fascinated me. I was like everyone else--I wanted to believe his story so badly the I ignored any negative information about Lance. This book is like a carefully crafted slap in the face to everyone who drank the kool-aid like me. You simply will not be able to put it down. It is truly like a modern day Greek tragedy that examines a monumentally flawed character who rises to a previously unheard of pinnacle of power in cycling surrounded by people who enabled his personal pathologies by crushing anyone who attempted to question his right to be there. The book does all of this without diminishing the fact that Lance truly is a gifted physical specimen driven by such a desire to win that he probably could have won all those Tours had everyone been riding clean, even if that same blind drive caused his eventual downfall. The writing is crisp and the authors move the story along at a blistering pace. Every angle of the Lance Armstrong story is gripping. This book is so good, it ensures we will be talking about this man and what his story should teach all of us for a long, long time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, November 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have never been accused of being a Pollyanna, but like millions of others, I really wanted to believe Armstrong's amazing comeback story. I had my doubts; but as someone who was subject to random drug tests at work, I just couldn't fathom how he or anyone else could possibly get away with doping for so many years. Maybe Armstrong WAS clean. Maybe he WAS being persecuted. Maybe other cyclists WERE just envious. Wrong, wrong and wrong. The authors explain how he and his supporters/enablers were able to get away with it: money, lots of money. As the authors point out in this well written book, Armstrong wasn't the only ambitious, greedy and ruthless person in this Greek tragedy. Sure, he made tons of money, but his supporters, sponsors, cycling related manufacturers and the sport of cycling itself all benefited, which gave all of them more than enough reason to look the other way. Perhaps the saddest part is the fact that Armstrong's early record in triathlons and cycling show that he was a gifted athlete. He may have been able to achieve greatness without the drugs, but we'll never know. Excellent book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars must read, October 25, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Wheelmen (Kindle Edition)
I've pretty much read all the books their is to read on this subject but this one pulls all the strands together and packages it in a neat way for all to understand regardless of their knowledge of the subject matter.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Devoured this book in a day, October 18, 2013
I ordered this on my kindle and read it in a day. I think as a psychologist I would have a field day with Lance Armstrong. The most impressive part of the book was that it realy delved into the psyche of Armstrong...the narcissism, the delusion, the complete lack of internal locus of responsbility. He was the emperor with no clothes, the delusional king from "Erik the Viking" who denied that his country was sinking into the ocean (sorry for the uber obscure movie reference). Anwyay, the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because (A) I believe that only the best of the best should get five stars, and (B), the book ended a bit abruptly and didn't really spend too much time explaining the reactions of many of the other people in the book (Eddie B, Lemond, Linda Armstrong, etc.). Still, a very, very "high" 4-star book for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 232 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever
$27.50 $18.81
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.