The inspiring, against-the-odds story of Gino Bartali, the cyclist who made the greatest comeback in Tour de France history and secretly aided the Italian resistance during World War II
Gino Bartali is best known as an Italian cycling legend who not only won the Tour de France twice but also holds the record for the longest time span between victories. In Road to Valor, Aili and Andres McConnon chronicle Bartali’s journey, from an impoverished childhood in rural Tuscany to his first triumph at the 1938 Tour de France. As World War II ravaged Europe, Bartali undertook dangerous activities to help those being targeted in Italy, including sheltering a family of Jews and smuggling counterfeit identity documents in the frame of his bicycle. After the grueling wartime years, the chain-smoking, Chianti-loving, 34-year-old underdog came back to win the 1948 Tour de France, an exhilarating performance that helped unite his fractured homeland.
Based on nearly ten years of research, Road to Valor is the first book ever written about Bartali in English and the only book written in any language to explore the full scope of Bartali’s wartime work. An epic tale of courage, resilience, and redemption, it is the untold story of one of the greatest athletes of the twentieth century.
Journalist Alli McConnon and historical researcher Andres McConnon uncover the untold story of Italian bicycle racing legend Gino Bartali's secret work during WWII saving Jews from the Holocaust. The sister-and-brother team describe Bartali's rise from humble origins in a village outside of Florence to international sports stardom as a two-time winner of bicycle racing's ultimate challenge, the Tour de France. They perfectly recreate the excitement of his 1948 Tour victory. With rioting in the wake of the attempted assassination of the head of Italy's Communist Party, many believe that Bartali's victory united Italians and prevented civil war. But the authors' primary focus is on Bartali's dangerous and secret work as a courier for a network that protected Italian Jews from the Nazis during the war, making this account much more than just another sports biography. At the request of Florence's antifascist archbishop, Elia Dalla Cpsta, who wanted to aid Jewish refugees flooding into the city, Bartali carried false identity documents and photos through numerous police and military checkpoints under the guise of "training" rides. Based mostly on Italian primary sources and hundreds of hours of interviews, this thoroughly documented biography is both inspiring and immensely enjoyable. Photos, maps.
This book is a perfect example of interesting history that's easy to miss if not in your body of typical choices. Great read
Road to valor
Great read and well written. A bit of history seldom spoken off or written about.
Road to Valor, made known on Christopher Close Up
I regularly listen to Tony Rossi's Christopher Close-up Sunday noon on XM/CatholicRadio. Last Sunday he had the brother and sister authors of this story about a devout Catholic bicycle racing champion, and I downloaded the iBook. It is a joyous story and enjoyable to read. The authors skillfully interweave the personal drama with local, national and global drama of WWII in Italy, taking the reader on the spiritual, cultural and emotional journey of Gino. Bartali,a true champion, and-most importantly-a true Christian who loved God and neighbor. This story exposes a man who, filled with faith, lived a virtuous life. I recommend it to young and old, especially anyone in discernment about a vocation. Faith, hope and charity play out to enable Bartali, with prudence, temperance and fortitude, persevere, endure and rise to be "champion" and "hero."