Synopses & Reviews
Lance Armstrong's War
is the extraordinary story of greatness pushed to its limits, a vivid, behind-the-scenes portrait of Armstrong perhaps the most accomplished athlete of our time as he faces his biggest test: a historic sixth straight victory in the Tour de France, the toughest sporting event on the planet.
Made newly vulnerable by age, fate, fame, doping allegations, and an unprecedented army of challengers, Armstrong fights on all fronts to do what he does like no one else: exert his will to win. That will, which has famously lifted him beyond his humble Texas roots, beyond cancer, and to unparalleled heights of success, is revealed by acclaimed journalist Daniel Coyle in new and startling dimensions.
We see how Armstrong rebuilds after his near-loss in the 2003 Tour, discovering new strategies to cope with his aging body. How he fills the holes in his life after his painful divorce from his wife, Kristin, and the ensuing time apart from his three young children. How he manages the exceedingly difficult trick of being Lance Armstrong a combination of world-class athlete, celebrity, regular guy, and, for many Americans, secular saint.
But a saint's life it's not. To function at his peak, Armstrong requires what his friends artfully call "stimulus" and if it's lacking, he won't hesitate to create some. We see Armstrong operating at the turbulent center of a fast-orbiting cast of swaggering Belgian tough guys, controversial Italian sports doctors, piranha-toothed lawyers, and jittery corporations, not to mention a certain female rock star. We see the subtle mind games he plays with himself and with rivals Tyler Hamilton, Jan Ullrich, and Iban Mayo. We see him through the eyes of his teammates, competitors, and friends, and explore his powerful relationship with his mother, Linda. We see what happens three weeks before the Tour, when he's faced with a double challenge: a blowout defeat in an important race and the release of a controversial book seeking to link him to performance-enhancing drugs. And finally we see it all culminate in the Tour de France, where Armstrong will rise to new and unexpected levels of domination.
Along the way, Lance Armstrong's War journeys through the little-known landscape of professional bike racing, a Darwinian world of unsurpassed beauty and brutality, a world teeming with underdogs, gurus, groupies, and wholly original characters, where athletes do not so much choose the sport as the sport chooses them.
Over the season, Armstrong and these characters collide in raw and sometimes violent theater. From the first training camps to the triumphal ride into Paris, Lance Armstrong's War provides a hugely insightful look into the often-inspiring, always surprising core of this remarkable man and the world that shapes him.
"When an athlete is as celebrated as Lance Armstrong, journalists tend to approach either with staggering awe or malicious schadenfreude. Refreshingly, Coyle (Hardball) displays neither. The journalist moved to Armstrong's training base in Spain to cover the months leading up to the cyclist's sixth Tour de France victory in 2004, and the resulting comfort level of Coyle with his subject is palpable. Armstrong emerges from these pages as neither the cancer-surviving saint his American fans admire, nor the soulless, imperialist machine his European detractors hate. Instead, he comes across as a preternaturally gifted athlete barely removed from the death-defying hellion he was as a teenager, fanatically disciplined, gregarious and generous but with a legendarily icy temper. Coyle sweeps over the basics of Armstrong's Texas childhood and fight with cancer, concentrating on his obsessive training this is a sport where results are measured in ounces and microseconds. He's sometimes too loose with his writing, digressing as though he had all the time in the world, but he tightens up for the grand finale: the Tour. This work is honest, personal and passionate, with plenty to chew on for fans and novices alike. Agent, David Black. (June 14)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Superbly written [and] deeply researched. A complete portrait of Armstrong.” VeloNews
“A velvety mix of vivid, sophisticated prose, Raymond Carvers unerring eye for nuance, and John Irvings irreverent, unflinching humor….An intimate look inside the maelstrom of professional cycling.”
Daniel Coynes New York Times bestseller Lance Armstrongs War takes a fascinating, in-depth look at a staggeringly talented yet flawed sports hero as he faced his greatest test: a record sixth straight Tour de France victory. Now with a new epilogue covering Armstrong's quest to win an 8th Tour de France, this “intimate, insightful, unflinching look at the greatest athlete of our time” (Jon Krakauer) explores the remarkable drive and accomplishments of a controversial champion—a must read for fans of John Feinstein and David Halberstam, as well as readers of Lance Armstrongs own Its Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts.
About the Author
Daniel Coyle is the author of Hardball: A Season in the Projects and the novel Waking Samuel. He is a former editor at Outside and a two-time National Magazine Award finalist, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. He lives in Alaska with his wife, Jen, and their four children.