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Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi (Yellow Jersey Cycling Classics) Paperback – July 5, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Italian star’s rivalry with Gino Bartali makes Armstrong v Contador look like a playground spat."  —Observer


"Admirable. Coppi's melancholy journey from poverty to superstardom is a cautionary tale of the price of fame."  —Financial Times

About the Author

William Fotheringham writes for the Guardian and Observer on cycling and rugby. He is the author of A Century of Cycling, Cycle Racing, Put Me Back on My Bike, and Roule Britannia: A History of Britons in the Tour de France.
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Product Details

  • Series: Yellow Jersey Cycling Classics
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224074504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224074506
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #887,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As an avid cyclist, I was expecting to devour this book. I mean come on... how can a story about the most storied cyclist in history not be a page turner? But as the chapters progressed, I found it harder and harder to read. I'm not sure if it was the overall lack of flow, or perhaps the emphasis on Coppi's personal life outside of cycling. It also became morbidly depressing in the end, but I can not fault the author on this. Coppi's personal life, after all, was painful in many ways.
In any event, I thought it was okay but certainly not as fascinating as that of McConnon's 'Road To Valor', the story of Italian cyclist Gino Bartali.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't think you go into reading something like this without already being a bike fan. As such, it is an excellent, short read. The book takes a broad focus, looking at his life and biking exploits in equal measure. I personally would have loved more detailed descriptions of the races and equipment, but I think those would have been outside the scope of what Fotheringham was trying to do. As the only English language book describing Coppi's life that I know of, we monolingual-types don't have much choice, but I read a lot of biography, and this is a good one. Fotheringham does an excellent job of describing a mythic character in a level-headed way, never falling in love with his subject, but certainly treating him with deference and, when appropriate, pity. Coppi's is an amazing, yet tragic story.

Now write one about Bartali!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fotheringham has written a brilliant book. He has written three in fact. This is the best, I think, which says a lot. Historically and biographically this is incredible stuff. Seen in the wider context of the defining moments of the the 21st century, WWII for instance, the reader better understands the deeper international rivalries within the sport. So too some of the peculiar national character of Italy. The magnifying glass is focused on Coppi but also on many of the figures around him. So we come away not only understanding the significance of the cyclist but also the sport and to an extent humanity itself.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very enthralling read from a great author. Although I didn't understand the authors reasoning behind the details of Coppis personal life, by the end of this tradgic story the realization comes forth of what a total mess his life became. Very entertaining!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like any cyclist that follows pro road racing I had heard of Coppi, but this book helped me understand why he is still such an Italian hero and a major international star. Great read!
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Format: Paperback
I've read several books about Fausto Coppi, both originally written in English and translated into English from Italian. There are others with more and better photos, but the text of this one is well above any other I've found. There is little of the breathless hero-worshipping style that so many bike racing histories and biographies have. Instead, Fotheringham presents a well-researched (including interviews with surviving folks who were there) account of the man and, at least as important, his times. No one has come close to placing Coppi's career into such a historical context, both in terms of cycling history and that of Italy itself.

While Fausto Coppi is the main focus (naturally), there are also excellent insights about Bartali, Magni, brother Serse Coppi, faithful gregario Carea, wife Bruna and, of course, Giulia, the infamous White Lady. Absolutely worth reading if you are at all interested in Coppi or in pro racing in the 1940s and 1950s.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you don't read Italian your sources of a general history of Coppi are limited. If you would like a pretty good "cyclist's perspective" on Coppi I think this more than does the trick. It has a lot of historical information as well as the commentary of contemporaries. On the other hand, and this may simply be my issue with Fotheringham's writing style as I have seen it in other writings by Fotheringham, it can, in sections, be lacking in detail, disjointed and repetitive. Is it encyclopedic and footnoted to the nth degree? No. But I didn't want an encyclopedia - I wanted the "story" of Fausto. To a certain extent reading this was comfortable, like being back in my early days at the bike shop listening to the "old guys" talk about the past stars of cycling. It is well worth reading - and as a side note, this and Fotheringham's book on Merckx both provide some interesting notes and perspective on the progression and evolution of doping issues in cycling.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
having read other books by Fotheringham on Simpson then Mercyxx I was disapponted by this book. He somehow seems to have lost the passion or the topic just became too difficult for him. Coppi is a complicated character who had a interesting life. There is almost two stories here - the cyclist, the man outside cycling. Both to me very interesting but Fotheringham fails to to bring them together in a cogent whole. I will be looking elsewher (maybe Sykes) for another rendition of the life of one of the 2 great cyclists of the road. Also disappointing left out was his cycling palmares - it would have been nice having a list of his achievements somewhere (which, in a fashion, Fotheringham did for Mercyxx). I wish Jean Bobet had written this book - after reading his cycling books (both highly recommended) you know he would have done it better.
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