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Download Road to Valor: A True Story of World War II Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Road to Valor: A True Story of World War II Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation Audiobook, by Aili McConnon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (194 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Aili McConnon, Andres McConnon Narrator: Stephen Hoye Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2012 ISBN: 9781452677835
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Gino Bartali is best known as an Italian cycling legend: the man who not only won the Tour de France twice, but also holds the record for the longest time span between victories.  During the ten years that separated his hard-won triumphs, his actions, both on and off the racecourse, ensured him a permanent place in Italian hearts and minds.In Road to Valor, Aili and Andres McConnon chronicle Bartali's journey, starting in impoverished rural Tuscany where a scrawny, mischievous boy painstakingly saves his money to buy a bicycle and before long, is racking up wins throughout the country.  At the age of 24, he stuns the world by winning the Tour de France and becomes an international sports icon.But Mussolini's Fascists try to hijack his victory for propaganda purposes, derailing Bartali's career, and as the Nazis occupy Italy, Bartali undertakes secret and dangerous activities to help those being targeted.  He shelters a family of Jews in an apartment he financed with his cycling winnings and is able to smuggle counterfeit identity documents hidden in his bicycle past Fascist and Nazi checkpoints because the soldiers recognize him as a national hero in training. After the grueling wartime years, Bartali fights to rebuild his career as Italy emerges from the rubble.  In 1948, the stakes are raised when midway through the Tour de France, an assassination attempt in Rome sparks nationwide political protests and riots.  Despite numerous setbacks and a legendary snowstorm in the Alps, the chain-smoking, Chianti-loving, 34-year-old underdog comes back and wins the most difficult endurance competition on earth.  Bartali's inspiring performance helps unite his fractured homeland and restore pride and spirit to a country still reeling from war and despair.Set in Italy and France against the turbulent backdrop of an unforgiving sport and threatening politics, Road to Valor is the breathtaking account of one man's unsung heroism and his resilience in the face of adversity.  Based on nearly ten years of research in Italy, France, and Israel, including interviews with Bartali's family, former teammates, a Holocaust survivor Bartali saved, and many others, Road to Valor is the first book ever written about Bartali in English and the only book written in any language to fully explore the scope of Bartali's wartime work.  An epic tale of courage, comeback, and redemption, it is the untold story of one of the greatest athletes of the twentieth century. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • A workmanlike biography that fills in some of the gaps of this strange, troubling time. Kirkus
  • “You do not have to follow cycling to relish Bartali’s story….Like Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit before it, Road to Valor is about an unlikely, headstrong champion who transcended his sport to make a deep impact on the broader world.”

    Sports Illustrated

  • “The McConnons have told the story of his [Bartali’s] great and greater victories powerfully and well.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Impeccably researched and thrillingly told…This is truly an amazing tale of a poor Tuscan boy who pedaled his way not only to sports immortality, but into true heroism.”

    Globe and Mail

  • “This thoroughly documented biography is both inspiring and immensely enjoyable.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 2/18/2014

    " A wonderful book, both in its history of Bartali's cycling achievements and heroic risks during World War II, but in its history of Europe's love affair with the bicycle. Bartali was by no means a perfect person or the perfect athlete, and that's what makes it all the more inspiring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 2/13/2014

    " An interesting look at cycling and Italy around the time of WW II. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shira Reiss | 2/6/2014

    " This book kept me engaged. I listened to it as an audiobook. I learned about some of Italy's history that I had never known before and I will never see the Tour de France the same again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 2/2/2014

    " What an fantastic story! It was absolutely inspirational and I was hoping for Bartali's sucess win of the Tour de France from the beginning! Being a true story made it a remarkable read! It was written in a very crisp concise manner, beautiful and descriptive. I enjoyed all the old photographs throughout the book that put you in Italy in the 1930's and 40's. It was packed with information on the origin of the Tour de France, WW2 and its impact on the church, politics and lifestyle of Florence, and the impossible mental, physical and financial challenges that Bartali endured to win. An inspiring story that will prove to you that no matter what odds are against you, if you want something bad enough, it can be yours! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill Sleeman | 1/19/2014

    " This is a fantastic book! Well researched and well written. I was not all aware of Gino Bartali nor his contributions to the effort to save Europe's Jews. What an amazing story - what an amazing person and athlete. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gail | 1/15/2014

    " This book really didn't do much for me. I read the entire thing but I didn't think it was that terrific. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 1/1/2014

    " I love cycling and everything about the Tour so this was an entertaining read. Not a literary masterpiece by any means, but interesting nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 1/1/2014

    " I now know the story of my Dad's favourite athlete. A readable saga of an Italian Hero. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin Sullivan | 12/27/2013

    " An very interesting & inspirational book which appropriately was a gift from an extremely interesting & inspirational fellow!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bruce Wright | 12/16/2013

    " A great bookend to Fausto Coppi's story. Amazing story of another flawed champion "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gaetano Amato | 12/10/2013

    " Remarkable man and story. Hopefully it inspires further research; there is so much left unsaid or discussed almost in passing. Notwithstanding, his achievements represent the best in man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 7/15/2013

    " An excellent history of the plight of Jews in Italy prior to, during and after WWII...saved with new identities carried in the bike frame of the great cyclist, Gino Bartali. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chip Linehan | 6/17/2013

    " Maybe closer to 3 1/2 stars. If you are a cycling fan, you will love the window into the sport circa 1925-1950. I felt like the author was embellishing and and inserting hyperbolic commentary on the positive impact of Gino's exploits, which was a bit of a turn-off. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vincent Lam | 6/8/2013

    " An inspiration - a book about a man whom I think many of us can identify with. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elsie | 2/22/2013

    " This book should have been better. It's a great true story, but this book doesn't deliver. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Harley | 11/8/2012

    " Excellent biography of a man who won the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948. In between he saved the lives Italian Jews during the war. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nicole West | 7/12/2012

    " This was certainly not a bad book; it was definitely well researched, but I found it a bit slow and laborious, which I wasn't expecting given the topic. I would give it 2 1/2 stars if 1/2 stars were allowed. "

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About the Author

Aili McConnon is an award-winning journalist, based in New York. She has written for BusinessWeek, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Sports Illustrated and has appeared on ABC, CNN, and NPR.

About the Narrator

Stephen Hoye has worked as a professional actor in London and Los Angeles for more than thirty years. Trained at Boston University and the Guildhall in London, he has acted in television series and six feature films and has appeared in London’s West End.