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Showing 1-10 of 112 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 173 reviews
on November 17, 2016
I read Assisi Underground, which was where I first heard of Gino Bartoli. I wanted to know his story. So I read Road To Valor. The book is superbly written. You know the outcome before you start reading it, and yet the book has you at the edge of your seat. It gives such excellent description of Italy at the time, economically and politically. And Bartoli, what a portrayal! I would recommend this for anyone who has an interest in bike racing, Italy, or WWII.
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on August 5, 2012
"Road to Valor" is an inspirational tale of Italian cycling legend Gino Bartali. From a small town upbringing outside of Florence to his unlikely rise as Tour de France champion in 1938, Bartali's legend is not about his victories against other riders but for his underground contributions during WWII to save lives.

As WWII raged on in Europe, Bartali's best years of cycling competition were wiped away. However, instead of capturing the imagination of the public with his exploits in bike races, Bartali rode to save lives. With a plan concocted by a Roman Catholic priest, he began transporting forged documents in his bike frame between Florence and Assisi. These papers became new identities for Italian Jews, their papers for survival rather than transport to to concentration camps outside of Italy. Bartali protected those around him through these years, not disclosing his frequent absences from home to even his wife as anything more than training.

By the time WWII was over and cycling competitions began anew, Bartali's best days were behind him. However, his performance in 1948 is truly astounding. As Italy teeters on the brink of civil war, Bartali shocks his fellow racers with an epic ride through the Alps in what unimaginable weather conditions. By the time he is done conquering the mountains, he wins his second Tour de France in staggering fashion. To this day he holds the distinction for longest gap between Tour victories. In today's age of diet, conditioning and nutrition, Bartali's chain-smoking, red wine drinking will undoubtedly leave modern athletes shaking their heads a bit in disbelief --- I certainly wondered how he survived to even win the 1948 Tour.

Bartali remained reticent to discuss anything he did in WWII and it is a remarkable bunch of research the McConnon's do to uncover the emotional heart and soul of this story. I'm grateful for their devotion to this man and his story. The world is quite lucky to know Gino Bartali beyond just a cycling record.
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on October 14, 2013
First, this book needs to updated: joining many of the persons who are mentioned in the book, Baltali was inducted into Yad Vashem's Righteous Among Nations a few days ago. Perhaps it was only his modesty and unwillingness to have his fame overshadow the efforts, and sufferings, of other less famoous people that kept this form happening sooner.

Second, the Kindle edition works better than many other Kindle books, in that the illustrations are meshed into the the text just as they are in the print edition, and not placed at the end as happens in too many other Kindle books.

Third, the Audible edition, though not advertised as such, syncs with the Kindle app for iPad and the Kindle edition. Many Audible ediitons too, though they are advertised as not doing so.

Finally, this a great read. While it leaves out the details of some of Baratli's last great races against Fausto Coppi, the focus is on Bartali the man, someone who did live up to the ideal of a sports hero who is a good person, who values family and righteous living above all, eschews drugs (unless cigarettes and copious amounts of espresso are drugs) and while voluble, in the end has a good sense of who he is and his place in the world. I will take one Bartali against every single player in the NFL, MLB and NBA combined. He got into sports as a way out of a life of poverty, but he never forgot who he was, where he came from, and his place in the world. In this well written, quick reading book, you will read about a rare person who did his duty not only to his sport, but to humanity.
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on February 6, 2016
A very gripping, detailed panorama of Italy before, during and after World War II. A period when the bicycle was central to life. ". . . in 1947 there were some 3.5 million bikes on the road in Italy and just 184,000 cars." De Sirca's 1949 film "The Bicycle Thief" visually demonstrated that a steeling a bike "was not just theft; it was an act of forced isolation that stripped a man of his livelihood and exiled him from the world." The book is the story of Gino Bartali, growing up outside of Florence in a one room house with his parents, his brother and his two sisters, and, with no help from the Mussolini government, becoming a national hero as a cyclist, winning the Tour de France twice, once in 1938, age 24, and again in 1948, age 34. The War, and Italian politics, limited his career. The War, however, gave him a chance to play a significant role in helping Italian Jews escape to the South where the Allied armies were in 1943.
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on January 6, 2017
Being a cyclist for over 40 years, I have a new respect for Bartali as a human being and Christian. Great story that should be a movie. I read it is. but in Italian. A good read.
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on June 6, 2016
This is an excellent, well researched novel about an incredible athlete and WWII upstander. I was previously unaware of Gino Bartali before I read this book and about his activities during WWII as an upstander. I highly recommenced this novel. Great for a student or anyone interested in WWII for a history class.
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on September 6, 2016
I enjoyed this book very much because I am an avid cyclist and also an avid fan of the Tour de France. This book not only had intimate details about being a professional cyclist in the 30's and 40's but also intimate details of World War 2 in Italy and all the suffering of the Italians and the Italian Jews at the hands of fascists and Hitler's armies. Great Job!
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on December 13, 2015
I was going to give this book 3 stars until I reached the brilliant chapter on the 13th stage of the 1948 Tour de France. Not only did the description of the race have me on the edge of my seat, but the preparation for the stage was riveting.
The book stalls during the war years, a section one would expect to find more exciting. Plodding through is worth the time and effort to reach the pinnacle of Gino's career.
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on September 30, 2016
A truly great read. Can't put it down.
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on September 29, 2016
really enjoying the read. very well written & engaging
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