Lance: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion

Lance: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion

4.4 21
by John Wilcockson
     
 

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A New York Times bestseller—the inspiring account of how the seven-time Tour de France champion and creator of the LiveStrong campaign became the world’s greatest championSee more details below

Overview

A New York Times bestseller—the inspiring account of how the seven-time Tour de France champion and creator of the LiveStrong campaign became the world’s greatest champion

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
By winning the Tour de France seven straight times (after surviving testicular cancer, no less), Lance Armstrong reached the hallowed status of athletes like Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali. With Armstrong's cooperation, Wilcockson (23 Days in July) profiles the cyclist's rise from a hell-raising Texas kid to a determined, disciplined champion who celebrates the highs of sports immortality while enduring lows like repeated doping allegations and shattered relationships. Wilcockson has tracked down an array of impressive sources-numerous cycling associates, family members, even Armstrong's ex-wife, Kristin. However, the resulting interviews provide little more than inspirational platitudes or fuzzy reminiscences, which are accompanied by ponderous accounts of training regimens and cycling events. With Wilcockson's fawning prose the book consistently reads like a press release (e.g., "Once Lance makes a promise...he always keeps it") a heavy contributor. Armstrong has led an extraordinary life so far, becoming synonymous with a sport and a disease while befriending movie stars and dating celebrities like Sheryl Crow.
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Library Journal

Nearly everyone has heard of Lance Armstrong, the imposing bicyclist who overcame testicular cancer and won seven straight (1999-2005) Tour de France races. Wilcockson (23 Days in July: Inside Lance Armstrong's Record-Breaking Tour de France Victory) provides an extensive look at his early life. Armstrong's mother became pregnant with him when she was 16, leading to her marriage to Lance's father, from whom Lance is estranged; he was named after Lance Rentzel of the Dallas Cowboys; Lance's parents came from low-income families and were ill equipped, financially and emotionally, to raise a child. Wilcockson writes of the petty crimes that Lance committed as a juvenile and of how the often unstable domestic environment of his youth would impact his own later short-lived marriage. Through it all, however, Lance became an outstanding athlete, moving from triathlon competitions to concentrating on bike racing. VERDICT Although there are nearly no details of Lance's life provided after 2005, this book offers stories and insights that will make it a popular choice for those who follow Armstrong and/or his sport.—Tim Delaney, SUNY at Oswego


—Tim Delaney
Kirkus Reviews
Detailed, hagiographic biography of one of the world's most inspiring athletes. Sports and fitness journalist Wilcockson-who previously wrote about Lance Armstrong in 23 Days in July (2004)-begins with Armstrong's childhood in Texas, during which he matured under the watchful eyes of a doting mother and a disciplinarian yet generous stepfather. By his mid teens he had become a nationally ranked triathlete and was soon reaping the rewards of his notoriety. Yet, as Wilcockson learned from interviews with Armstrong's friends and family, there was anger in him, possibly stemming from the discovery of his stepfather's infidelity. There was also arrogance-success had come too easily. In 1996, the 25-year-old Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had metastasized to his lungs, abdomen and brain. Given a 50 percent chance of survival, his future looked bleak. But in 1999, after brain surgery and debilitating chemotherapy, Armstrong won the Tour de France-and would win it another six consecutive years, all the while fighting baseless accusations of doping. Wilcockson is at his best describing this tortuous 2,200-mile event, which tests athletes to the breaking point, and he ably captures the world of European cycling-the techniques, personalities and overwhelming passion. The author also outlines Armstrong's personal life, including his failed marriage, relationship with singer Sheryl Crow and the growth of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and its "Live Strong" campaign. Ultimately, though, Armstrong remains a mystery. For all the detail he provides, Wilcockson-perhaps being too close to the subject-never quite penetrates the protective shield of Armstrong's public persona. Serviceablebut not definitive. Agent: James Levine/Levine Greenberg Literary Agency
From the Publisher
Kirkus Reviews, 6/1/09
“[A] detailed…biography of one of the world’s most inspiring athletes…Wilcockson is at his best describing this tortuous 2,200-mile event, which tests athletes to the breaking point, and he ably captures the world of European cycling—the techniques, personalities and overwhelming passion.”

Booklist, 5/15/09
“Cycling fans will enjoy the summaries of Armstrong’s racing triumphs, and there are lots of fascinating insider anecdotes to flesh out the story line. This subject-friendly biography of one of the world’s most famous sports luminaries is sure to get lots of media hype and be in considerable demand.”

Library Journal
“This book offers stories and insights that will make it a popular choice for those who follow Armstrong and/or his sport.”

PW.com
“Wilcockson has tracked down an array of impressive sources…Armstrong has led an extraordinary life so far...”

The Independent (UK), 7/19/09
“[A] fascinating, very well put-together portrait full of insights into its subject's personality…The adult dramas – the rise to cycling prominence and his domination of the Tour, the cancer and the setting up of his cancer foundation, his marriage, fatherhood, divorce, and his relationship with Sheryl Crow – are better known, but in Wilcockson's hands they remain rich in the re-telling, and much is added to our understanding of a tumultuous life.”

The Guardian (UK), 7/19/09
“[S]ceptics might be less surprised to witness Armstrong's renaissance if they had read John Wilcockson's new biography.”

The Texas Observer, 7/10/09
“Wilcockson is able to offer the inside dope (pun intended) on the champ’s training techniques, his rise through the ranks and his triumph over family strife and cancer to emerge as one of the planet’s best-known athletes…Wilcockson certainly knows the business of bike racing, and he delivers a fine primer.”

The Daily Beast
Lance is a compelling story of survival and, above all else, endurance.”

The New York Times, 7/23/09
“Another Armstrong book?...Is there anything left to say or explain? Yes there is and Wilcockson says it and explains it meticulously, even controversially…Confident, confrontational, motivated by anger and a fear of failure — these well-known Armstrong traits are explored at length by Wilcockson in a series of interviews with figures in the rider’s past, including his adopted father, his early mentor, relatives and boyhood friends and the doctor who first diagnosed the testicular cancer that had spread to the rider’s brain, lungs and stomach. Lance lets them all speak as Wilcockson blends their stories into a skillful portrait to detail the book’s subtitle, The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion.”

The New York Times, 7/23/09
“Another Armstrong book?...Is there anything left to say or explain? Yes there is and Wilcockson says it and explains it meticulously, even controversially…Lance lets them all speak as Wilcockson blends their stories into a skillful portrait.”

San Antonio Express News, 7/27/09
“If you're an Armstrong follower, a cyclist or a fan of sports nonfiction, Lance won't disappoint.”

Bike World News, 9/1
“[F]or fans of Armstrong who are looking for a comprehensive look at his life, this book would fit the bill.”

Buffalo News, 9/6
“[Wilcockson] offers a unique biography of Armstrong that intertwines the personal with the professional.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786748051
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
06/30/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
File size:
2 MB

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