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Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America Hardcover – October 15, 2007
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Why a scholarly work? Kastner had clearly done years of painstaking research to cobble together this story from hundreds and hundreds of sources. There are 36 pages of references accompanying the book citing the source for all information contained within the narrative. Kastner lists 75 newspapers in the references from which he combed through archives to find nuggets to enrich the story. Kastner has provided a first rate book and first rate service in preserving this important event in running and American history.
Kastner's account follows African American, Ed Gardner, through the torturous ordeal. This is history that reads like a novel - absorbing and well-paced. Kastner brings into sharp focus the motivation, the perseverance, the will, the grit that made Gardner a hero of his day.
In his delightful book, "Bunion Derby," Charles Kastner has brought this remarkable race and its incredible participants back to life, helping to fulfill race referee Arthur Duffy's prediction that "...some day the public will come to realize that this cross country foot race is one of the greatest athletic achievements of the age."
Organized by sports promoter C.C. Pyle and his partner, football hero "Red" Grange, the race attracted 199 participants who competed for a First Prize of $25,000, a small fortune at the time. Each morning, the runners rolled off their metal cots, ran a race leg of 30-75 miles, scrounged for dinner, fell exhausted onto their cots, and woke up to do the whole thing over. Along the way, they had to overcome freezing temperatures, sprained ankles, bad food, assaults by hit-and-run drivers, and threats of violence against the African-American runners.
Could anyone today even imagine running from Los Angeles through the Mojave Desert, crossing the mountains of northern Arizona, and reaching the New Mexico border in twenty days? Throw in freezing rains, a 7400' elevation gain, and howling head winds and the feat becomes super-human.
Remarkably, 55 of the original 199 starters finished the race, even though many were simply amateur runners or not even runners at all. At least, not when they started.Read more ›
The story on the other hand belongs not only to the book, but to American History. The racers formed a cross-section of American society, with some fascinating foreigners thrown in for good measure. The trials and tribulations of all the runners amazed me and their sheer persistence could not help but become fodder for the story. But more than that the story is of ordinary people whose characters and personalities were forever changed by their phenomenal efforts. When the leaders of the race cross into New York State, there is a gesture by the leading racer which brought tears to my eyes. I leave it to you to buy the book and read the story, and admire these Bunioneers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Byline: The Book Reviewer (www.thebookreviewer.ca)
Title of Book: The Bunion Derby
Author: Charles B. Kastner
Narrator: Andrew L. Read more
This is an amazing true story. It's a bit dry, as it just states what actually happened, but is no less epic because of that. Read morePublished 24 months ago by DK
This book is a great story of a footrace and of American history too. If you are a runner, read for certain. If you love history, read for certain. Read morePublished on March 30, 2009 by Amazon Customer