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The perfect mile : three athletes, one goal, and less than four minutes to achie
Neal Bascomb
Adult Nonfiction GV1061.14 .B38 2004

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The attempt by three men in the 1950s to become the first to run the mile in less than four minutes is a classic 20th-century sports story. Bascomb's excellent account captures all of the human drama and competitive excitement of this legendary racing event. It helps that the story and its characters are so engaging to begin with. The three rivals span the globe: England's Roger Bannister, who combines the rigors of athletic training with the "grueling life of a medical student"; Australia's John Landy, "driven by a demand to push himself to the limit"; and Wes Santee from the U.S., a brilliant strategic runner who became the "victim" of the "[h]ypocrisy and unchecked power" of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Although Bannister broke the record before Landy, Landy soon broke Bannister's record, and the climax of the book is a long and superb account of the race between the two men at the Empire Games in Vancouver on August 7, 1954. Bascomb provides the essential details of this "Dream Race" which was heard over the radio by 100 million people while Santee, who may have been able to beat both of them, was forced by AAU restrictions to participate only as a broadcast announcer. Bascomb definitively shows how this perfect race not only was a "defining moment in the history of the mile and of sport as well," but also how it reveals "a sporting world in transition" from amateurism to professionalism. (Apr.) Forecast: With Bascomb's narrative skills, it's no surprise that movie rights have already been optioned and by the team behind the Seabiscuit film. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

May 6, 2004, marks the 50th anniversary of a breakthrough achievement that had once seemed impossible the first running of a sub-four-minute mile. Bascomb describes the buildup to the event, including how three main competitors came together to race on that memorable day. It was an American, Wes Santee, who boldly claimed that he would be the first person to run the sub-four-minute mile. The other two protagonists, Englishman Roger Bannister and Australian John Landry, were as determined as Santee. The race captured the imaginations of people around the globe, sharing headlines with the Korean War, Elizabeth's coronation, and another considerable human accomplishment, Edmund Hillary's conquest of Everest. This is an engaging tale that features detailed notes for each chapter, plus eight black-and-white photos. Bascomb (Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky and the Making of a City) is a former editor and journalist who has appeared in documentaries on A&E and the History Channel. Recommended for all sports collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/03.] Larry R. Little, Penticton P.L., B.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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