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The Tour de France: A Cultural History
In this highly original history of the world’s most famous bicycle race, Christopher S. Thompson, mining previously neglected sources and writing with infectious enthusiasm for his subject, tells the compelling story of the Tour de France from its creation in 1903 to the present. Weaving the words of racers, politicians, Tour organizers, and a host of other commentators to ...more
Hardcover, 398 pages
Published July 17th 2006 by University of California Press
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This is more academic than I think many people would expect or enjoy, but I really found it fascinating. The author traces the social and cultural themes of the Tour de France throughout its history, demonstrating a sophisticated analysis of the Tour as a symbol of French identity.
I learned a lot more about French culture during the period from 1903 to 2005 than I learned about the Tour de France from reading this book. Especially interesting is the way in which the various newspapers, basically just organs of the political parties and/or movements they represent, took up cycling as a microcosm of 20th Century life as a whole.