From the Library: Road to Valor


I went into the reading of this book with a little, general, knowledge of who Gino Bartali was as both a cyclist and as a war-time hero. My fore-knowledge stopped at little, which was unfortunate for a racer who was so important to the history of the sport and indeed, his country. This book fleshed out the skeleton of what I knew. Considering his fame as an international-calibre racer before World War II, it should be no surprise that his actions to help save the lives of innocents during the war, have been the subject of documentation ever since they became known. Then there is the mythos of Bartali - how, by winning the Tour de France, he single-handedly saved Italy from collapse into Civil War.

There is much history in this book, and while there is also much about Bartali's cycling career, it takes a lesser role to that of the broader story. The tip off might have been the subject tags on the book - history, military, World War II. Not cycling. Not sport. It did not make a bit of difference, the book is a worthy read. If you don't know the story of Gino Bartali and his role in Italian history during and after World War II, find this book. It is easily one of the more compelling additions to the Library.

McConnon, Aili and Andres   Road to Valor: A True Stor of World War II Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation   New York: Broadway Paperbacks, 2012

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