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Strides: Running Through History With an Unlikely Athlete 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Cheever, a former journalist and onetime copy editor at Reader's Digest, melds reportorial skills, literary talent and a wicked sense of humor to capture the irony and indefatigable spirit of running in the 21st century....Beginners will relate to Cheever's inauspicious initial forays into fitness and exercise, and veteran runners can share his enthusiasm for the Kenyans and other leaders of the pack. The result is a joyous and inspirational ode to our transformative sport." -Jim Hage, The Washington Post
Top Customer Reviews
It's supposed to be a straight line.
You'd think a runner would know that. No one likes to take too many extra steps when running, particularly in a marathon.
Benjamin Cheever is a runner, but he's more interested in his book "Strides" about the journey than in reaching the destination.
Which is a less-than-direct way of saying that it's a pretty entertaining book.
Cheever is always going to be known as the son of John Cheever, the Pulitzer Prize winner. That's a little baggage for someone in the writing business, even though it's a one-sentence introduction to fellow literary types. He has compiled a good career in his own right, with several novels to his credit.
"Strides" is subtitled, "Running through History with an Unlikely Athlete." Cheever is indeed a good, but not great, runner with several marathons to his credit.
This book probably could be broken down into three different categories, and they have varying degrees of effectiveness. At the bottom of the list is Cheever's attempts to review running through history, going back thousands of years. While well-researched and sprinkled with humor, it's tough to make this dry material jump to life.
Some first-person essays work better. Cheever is a good enough runner to have done a variety of interesting runs over the years -- an outing to Kenya to run with the world's best, a jog in Iraq, a marathon in France featuring wine stops instead of water stops -- but he's enough of an everyman in sneakers that the reader wants to tag along.
Even better are essays about the sport itself.Read more ›
There were parts of this book I liked a lot. I liked that the author interviewed professional athletes and other experts to add to his own perspective. I liked his perspective, especially on his own experiences, since these were often told with the most humor. And I liked seeing the enthusiasm and love the author clearly feels for running. As a non-runner, it was interesting to see what draws people to running and what the challenges are. It sounds as though on of the great benefits of running is the feeling of community. That was conveyed through a variety of poignant stories.
One downside of the book was the complete mix of topics, from funny to moving stories and from myth to history to musings on running. The author would often make a point, relate a few anecdotes, make that point or another point, and than return with more anecdotes. As a result, the book felt somewhat choppy. I also would have liked to see more research and more history, both of which were smaller components of the book than I expected based on the description and subtitle. Of course, someone looking for something different, particularly someone looking to read another runner's thoughts on running, might enjoy this book a lot more. Given how funny some of the anecdotes were, I might pick up a memoir or a comedy he's written since those might be more for me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great seller, fast shipping and product just as described. Highly recommended.Published 22 months ago by Jim Kenny
Highly recommended read for running enthusiasts and anyone interested in the sport. Very well-written and packed full of history, anecdotes, and personal insights.Published on November 10, 2013 by casey van maanen
Since I've gotten into running in the past couple of years, this book caught my interest. It sounded like it would be a mix of history with some personal experiences. And it is. Read morePublished on February 18, 2013 by Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers
I think Ben Cheever could make any subject an interesting read, so whether you are a runner or not this book is worth picking up. If you are a runner this will be a favorite.Published on September 13, 2009 by Michelle
It was impossible not to get swept up in Mr. Cheever's enthusiasm (no, too mild, obsession is more like it) with running. Read morePublished on August 13, 2009 by Jo Maeder
I thought this book would have a bit more to it - very informative and lots of good quotes, but I was looking for a little more entertainment. Read morePublished on July 17, 2009 by T. Cassidy
This is a good read. He tells stories that ramble a bit but in a good way. He's like your dad maybe if your dad was handy weaving his life's story around the history of running. Read morePublished on June 19, 2009 by M. Baker
Benjamin Cheever started off as an unlikely runner and in this book tells his story that began as "the fat man in green pajamas" and progressed to an accomplished runner and... Read morePublished on June 9, 2009 by Richard W. Hudson
This book was so boring. I just didn't get it. The book was about a guy, who's the son of a famous writer who shares his expieriences in running. Read morePublished on May 21, 2009 by Amazon Customer