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Publisher Description

There was a time when running the mile in four minutes was believed to be beyond the limits of human foot speed, and in all of sport it was the elusive holy grail. In 1952, after suffering defeat at the Helsinki Olympics, three world-class runners each set out to break this barrier. Roger Bannister was a young English medical student who epitomized the ideal of the amateur — still driven not just by winning but by the nobility of the pursuit. John Landy was the privileged son of a genteel Australian family, who as a boy preferred butterfly collecting to running but who trained relentlessly in an almost spiritual attempt to shape his body to this singular task. Then there was Wes Santee, the swaggering American, a Kansas farm boy and natural athlete who believed he was just plain better than everybody else.

Spanning three continents and defying the odds, their collective quest captivated the world and stole headlines from the Korean War, the atomic race, and such legendary figures as Edmund Hillary, Willie Mays, Native Dancer, and Ben Hogan. In the tradition of Seabiscuit and Chariots of Fire, Neal Bascomb delivers a breathtaking story of unlikely heroes and leaves us with a lasting portrait of the twilight years of the golden age of sport.

Sports & Outdoors
April 6
HMH Books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Customer Reviews

African Southern ,


Poignantly written in such a manner that allows the reader to feel the emotions of each character on a visceral level.

Tr1021 ,

A very worthy read

Having been a track aficionado for 40 years, I found this book to be thoroughly well researched, very well written, yet brief and to the point. I recommend it highly.

unTick ,

Four minute mile

Such a fascinating read! Love real true stories. This book got my heart pounding like I was really at the track. Thanks! Keep up the great work

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