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Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong Hardcover – March 4, 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 211 customer reviews

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The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews


“In Cycle of Lies, Juliet Macur sets out to untangle Armstrong’s lifetime of dishonesty...[and] finds some ghoulish new skeletons.” (The Guardian (UK) )

“A riveting account of the Armstrong implosion...a tale right out of ancient Greece.” (Toronto Star (Canada))

“A compelling account…Cycle of Lies is a scrupulously reported and sourced book… a search for an understanding of the man behind the myth.” (New York Times)

From the Back Cover

The definitive account of Lance Armstrong's spectacular rise and fall.

In June 2013, when Lance Armstrong fled his palatial home in Texas, downsizing in the face of multimillion-dollar lawsuits, Juliet Macur was there—talking to his girlfriend and children and listening to Armstrong's version of the truth. She was one of the few media members aside from Oprah Winfrey to be granted extended one-on-one access to the most famous pariah in sports.

At the center of Cycle of Lies is Armstrong himself, revealed through face-to-face interviews.

But this unfolding narrative is given depth and breadth by the firsthand accounts of more than one hundred witnesses, including family members whom Armstrong had long since turned his back on—the adoptive father who gave him the Armstrong name, a grandmother, an aunt. Perhaps most damning of all is the taped testimony of the late J.T. Neal, the most influential of Armstrong's many father figures, recorded in the final years of Neal's life as he lost his battle with cancer just as Armstrong gained fame for surviving the disease.

In the end, it was Armstrong's former friends, those who had once occupied the precious space of his inner circle, who betrayed him. They were the ones who dealt Armstrong his fatal blow by breaking the code of silence that shielded the public from the grim truth about the sport of cycling—and the grim truth about its golden boy, Armstrong.

Threading together the vivid and disparate voices of those with intimate knowledge of the private and public Armstrong, Macur weaves a comprehensive and unforgettably rich tapestry of one man's astonishing rise to global fame and fortune and his devastating fall from grace.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062277227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062277220
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Neurasthenic VINE VOICE on March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
We're somewhere in the middle of the great cycle of Lance Armstrong books. First we had Lance's own dishonest autobiography and associated sycophantic team histories, tempered by one or two skeptical books. Then, after the code of silence was broken, we got the USADA report confirming that Armstrong had been cheating for years, and a rash of books explaining in greater detail how. Most of these books have come from journalists and most, like Juliet Macur, are mad at Lance Armstrong for having lied to them and insulted them for so many years. We also have one book by former professional cyclist Tyler Hamilton, about his participation in the cheating. It's unique so far but more like that one are sure to come.

So how does this book compare to its peers?

Macur's hard work and discipline is visible throughout. She spoke with many more witnesses to Lance Armstrong's upbringing, racing, and cheating, than in any other book of this sort. She has turned up a number of things I have not read elsewhere. Kudos to her for getting access to the tape recorded reminiscences of J T Neal, Armstrong's early supporter and surrogate father, who suffered through cancer with Lance before being abandoned by him. She is similarly the first to have spoken with John Hendershot, Armstrong's soigneur in the 1990s, and his guilt-wracked dealer in performance-enhancing drugs. There is other new material here as well; while
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Format: Hardcover
‘Cycle of Lies’ written by Juliet Macur is a well-made biography of athlete that was first admired, and then despised by the whole world - Lance Armstrong.

The author of the book is Juliet Macur who is a sports reporter for The New York Times covering last ten years various sports stories connected with doping and legal issues. Previously she wrote about some other controversial subjects such as ‘Countdown to Beijing’ that brought a story about China sports world that was pushed hard in order to host the 2008 Summer Olympics and ‘In Two Arenas’ that spoke about Iraq war’s effect on sportsmen.

With ‘Cycle of Lies’ Juliet Macur set for herself the ambitious goal to write a true and interesting story about an athlete whose fate in recent years repeatedly filled newspaper columns, equally for good, as for the bad reasons. And certainly she succeeded because her 500 pages work is something that can be read in one sitting and with full right it can be said that this is a great work of investigative journalism in sports world.

Her book is divided into seven chapters, each of them, in addition to the Prologue and Epilogue, named in a provocative way – Lies of the Family, Lies of the Sport, Lies of the Media, Lies of the Brotherhood, Lies of the American Hero and finally, The Truth.

Right at the beginning of the book author gives clear guidelines from which it can be seen that she knows a lot about Armstrong and people around him - …for nearly a decade, Lance Armstrong and I have had a contentious relationship. Seven years have passed since his agent, Bill Stapleton, first threatened to sue me. Back then, I was just one of the many reporters Armstrong had tried to manipulate, charm or bully.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started this book without a lot of information or ideas on the trials and tribulations of Lance Armstrong. I knew he had admitted cheating but really that was it. I'm not a fan of cycling or sports in general so I was hesitant to give this book a try but I do enjoy non-fiction and true-crime so I decide to give it a spin.

It's very well written with a lot of detail and a whole cast of characters that made the decades long cheating possible, interviews with those who participated and those who wanted to end the doping in the cycling world. You travel the globe and learn about the teammates, doctors, girlfriends, money-men and racing officials who are involved.

The writer even includes her run-ins with Lance and his all too often arrogant and distasteful comments. You come away with the notion that he really is a piece of work. You also learn quite a bit about the substances and techniques that were used in the cycling world to advance and cheat. It is all written in a very thrilling and evocative way with the sources and information to back it up. If you are into crime novels and shady characters give this book a chance.
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This book begins and ends magnificently, with a fascinating portrait of Lance Armstrong on his way out of his Austin mansion and some impressive sleuth work on his early childhood and family. But it struggles in the middle chapters to match the highs set at the beginning and end, which, we learn later, were the result of a four-hour interview done in Austin as Lance was leaving his house. Lance comes off rather badly -- the bullying behaviour is rather amply described, and at a level of detail that other accounts have missed. But the reader is left nonetheless with the feeling that Lance may be only half-wrong here -- he has in fact been saddled with the sins of a deeply corrupt sport, where his principal sin was to do so well at it, and to treat so many people so badly along the way. It's a good read, if you're interested in the story, especially the beginning and ending chapters. But the middle chapters seem very hastilly written, and curiously missing in key detail -- Lance breaking his collarbone during his comeback, Marco Pantani's untimely death, and a sharper account of Floyd Landis' humongous flame out. All in all recommended reading, but it falls a bit short of being the definitive account of this man and his sport.
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