The Tour de France: A Cultural History
University of California Press, 2008 - 385 pagina's
"Shows that sport has been for us moderns the ultimate tabula rasa into which we pour our hopes, fears, prejudices and self-interest."--Robert A. Nye, author of Crime, Madness, & Politics in Modern France and Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France
"Chris Thompson has written an engaging, nicely-paced account of France's world-famous cycle race: his writing is lively and full of detail and excitement. But he has done much more than simply narrate the story of the Tour. His book sets the race--its history, its participants and its meaning--firmly in its shifting national and cultural contexts. The sections dealing with professional cycling as a form of labor and with the Tour's place in France's troubled twentieth century are absolutely first-rate: insightful and original. This is the best history of the Tour that we have and are likely to have for many years, a work of scholarship that deserves to find a broad general readership."--Tony Judt, author of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
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LibraryThing ReviewGebruikersrecensie - LibraryThing
In writing "The Tour de France: A Cultural History", Christopher Thompson has done that very rare thing: he has increased our net knowledge of the Tour de France. This is extraordinary given that the Tour has been the subject of writers for over 100 years. Mountains of books have been written about the Tour. This isn’t a book devoted to who dropped whom on what climb. Thompson is fishing in deeper waters. Why is the Tour the way it is? How has it affected French culture and how did French culture affect the Tour? The answers to these questions are important to any cycling fan who wants to know why he has to get up early in the morning to watch a race that is taking place 9 time zones away. Lance Armstrong voiced his anger that the Tour de France took place in France. Yet, the Tour could only have grown and matured in France. Britain, as a result of the industrial revolution, clustered its population in cities. This made it perfect for stadium sports but ill-suited for cycle road racing. France remained a rural country well into the twentieth century making it perfect for the traveling show that is the Tour. Also, the Tour encouraged and celebrated foreign winners while the Giro connived at denying foreign riders a fair shot at victory. Moreover, the Tour was founded by a strangely gifted man, Henri Desgrange, who guided the Tour from its infancy to sturdy maturity with an iron-fisted despotism. Thompson analyzes the changes to French society that made mass-spectator sport possible at the end of the nineteenth century and how Desgrange exploited them. The Tour de France, being a cultural history, discusses at length the riders and their economic and social position in society and how it has changed over the years. There is also a very enlightening discussion of doping, a component of racing that cannot be ignored. This is a wonderful book that will leave the reader with a deeper understanding of the Tour and France. Read this book. It is well written and exhaustively researched. Thompson’s passion for bicycle racing and French history makes each page a pleasure. There is a bonus. The cover photo of 1947 Tour winner Jean Robic being doused with water by a couple running alongside him has to be one of the greatest cycling pictures of all time. Their obvious joy juxtaposed alongside the struggling rider encapsulates the attraction of the Tour far more than any 1000 words could possibly hope to do.
Review: The Tour de France: A Cultural HistoryGebruikersrecensie - Goodreads
I learned a lot more about French culture during the period from 1903 to 2005 than I learned about the Tour de France from reading this book. Especially interesting is the way in which the various ...