The inspiring, against-the-odds story of Gino Bartali, the cyclist who made the greatestcomeback in Tour de France history and secretly aided the Italian resistance during World War II
Gino Bartali is best known as an Italian cycling legend who not only won the Tour de France twice but also holds the record for the longest time span between victories. In Road to Valor, Aili and Andres McConnon chronicle Bartali’s journey, from an impoverished childhood in rural Tuscany to his first triumph at the 1938 Tour de France. As World War II ravaged Europe, Bartali undertook dangerous activities to help those being targeted in Italy, including sheltering a family of Jews and smuggling counterfeit identity documents in the frame of his bicycle. After the grueling wartime years, the chain-smoking, Chianti-loving, 34-year-old underdog came back to win the 1948 Tour de France, an exhilarating performance that helped unite his fractured homeland. Based on nearly ten years of research, Road to Valor isthe first book ever written about Bartali in English and the only book written in any language to explore the full scope of Bartali’s wartime work. An epic tale of courage, resilience, and redemption, it is the untold story of one of the greatest athletes of the twentieth century.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Road To Valor by Aili and Andres McConnon This sister and brother writing team have a "breakaway" book that is well written and amazingly documented. The story reminded me of what it must have been like to live in any of the European counties during World War II. The strength of the Italian people to recover from the war is so tied to the life of their famous cyclist, Gino Bartali. His efforts to win the Tour de France for the second time after the war is a remarkable ten year span. His strong Catholic faith and heroic help of Jewish families during such a terrible time in history was nothing short of courageous. I was also captivated by the details of the Tour de France and the physical and cycling skill involved in this fiercely competitive race. A good read for sport fans as well as historians.
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've long been interested in the history of WWII, but I've always focused on the battles portion of it - the dog fights in the air, the soldiers, the maneuvering...and paid little attention to the role of civilians in war. But I decided it was time to do some reading that area, and started with Road to Valor.
I enjoyed it a great deal - since I'm also a road-racing fan.
The authors have done an excellent job putting Gino Bartali's story tigether, from his two Tour de France races - one before and one after WWII, plus his heroics as a civilian during the war when he joined a like-minded group of civilians who created fake identity cards for Jewish refugees. The horror and misery of war for soldiers is bad enough, but one must not forget the sufferings of the civilians who live near or in-between advancing armies, and who suffer either the excesses of victorious soldiers, or beaten soldiers looking to take their rage out on those who can't fight back...
This book is a wonderfully written story that tells both the story of Gino Bartali, the epic cyclist of the old guard, who famously won the Tour de France twice, TEN YEARS APART!, as well as the less known story of Gino's secret efforts to protect and save Jews persecuted during Italy during the era of WW II Nazi occupation. To read this book is pure delight as it lays the background magnificantly - explaining the importance of the bicyle in the 1930s and the gritty details of the early Tour de France and also setting the scene for Gino's heroism by providing the backdrop of Italian Fascism, Nazi persecution of Jews, and the post-war rebuilding effort.
This quick and easy read is the best book of the year.
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