The RoadBack

The RoadBack

by michael vitez
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The RoadBack by michael vitez

In The Road Back, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Michael Vitez writes about Matthew Miller, 20, a member of the University of Virginia triathlon club. Matt had just pedaled up a mountain pass and was on top of the world in so many ways, in love, with dreams of attending medical school, so fit his resting pulse was 42! And then, cycling along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, he was hit by a Porsche, face first, at 45 miles per hour. He broke every bone in his face and suffered severe brain injury. He stopped breathing. The real story is not what happened, but what happened after. The Road Back is the incredible, humbling, miraculous story of Matt’s survival and recovery, all the way to an Ironman, and medical school. It is a story, truly, of grace and grit. Matt Miller's story really is The Perfect Storm in reverse -- everything had to go flawlessly for him to have any chance of survival. And it did! This is a story in which America shines.

THE ROAD BACK is not only about a young man’s drive to reclaim his life, but about the people who rode with him, rescued him, helped him heal, and saw up close his amazing comeback.

"One of the things I love best about this book," said Vitez, "is that this was a kid who had been given everything – an affluent and loving family, a sharp mind, terrific athleticism -- and he recognized he'd been given these gifts and felt a responsibility to make the most of them. And when adversity struck, he doubled down, drew from deep within himself, and grew even more determined to fulfill the promise of his life, to make the most of his gifts and this greatest gift, his second chance.

"I have made it my mission as a writer to celebrate life, to look for the good in people, to inspire when I can,” said Vitez, a journalist with The Philadelphia Inquirer, who won the Pulitzer in 1997 for a series of stories on end of life care in America. “And I found so much goodness in this book. I love the family history, showing where Matt got his grit and work ethic. I love his mother's humility and strength. This book is my canvas to paint my view of America, a true and remarkable story."

"This has been a great adventure for me, and in a way I feel like a pioneer," Vitez said.

Many have raved about The Road Back. Here are four short reviews:

“The Road Back is an incredible story of survival and recovery against all odds. Matt Miller’s focus and determination are unbelievable and inspiring — I’ll never again have an excuse not to get out and train.” –Erin Donohue, 2008 U.S. Olympian, 1500 meter run.

“I read it in one day. LOVED it! Matt Miller’s story is one of inspiration and perseverance. Mr. Vitez’s writing is captivating as he describes the unwavering fortitude that brought Matt from near death to medical school and Ironman success. Matt’s character and love of life remind me so much of my brother… amazing book about an amazing man.” – Maddy Crippen, 2000 U.S. Olympian, 400 meter individual medley, and sister of the late Fran Crippen. Fran plays a key role in Matt’s story.

“This engaging account of Matt Miller’s unwavering positive attitude and determination in the face of a near death injury is inspiring. As a former collegiate athlete, enthusiastic marathon runner and the current owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, I can truly appreciate the effort it took for Matt to recover and finish the Ironman in such an impressive time. Philadelphia should be proud to call Matt and his fianceé Emily its own. “ – Josh Harris, owner Philadelphia 76ers, co-founder Apollo Global Management, former University of Pennsylvania wrestler, marathoner, and aspiring triathlete.

“This is an absorbing, well-written, and inspiring book about a special young man who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. The medical accounts were accurate and compelling, and I think anyone with an interest in recovery from neurological injury would enjoy this book.” – Dong H. Kim, chief of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Medical School, who treated Congresswoman Gabby Giffords during her rehabilitation.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940014500753
Publisher: michael vitez
Publication date: 04/30/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 212
Sales rank: 783,401
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Michael T. Vitez has been a staff writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 27 years. He won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for a series of stories about five people approaching the end of life. Vitez has taught classes in narrative non-fiction at the University of Pennsylvania and was a visiting Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton. He is also a former Michigan Journalism Fellow. He is the author of Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps. (2006) He graduated from the University of Virginia, where he was editor-in-chief of The Cavalier Daily. And for 12 years, he has organized the annual Erlton Triathlon at his local swim club!
You can read more about him, and read previous works, even excerpts from this book, at his website,

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The Road Back: A Journey of Grace and Grit 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This amazing story is an incredible reminder of what matters most in this world- family, relationships, hard-work and hope. I hung on every word and didn't want the story to end. After reading this story I will always find hope in any situation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago