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simond9x

Riding in the Zone Rouge: The Tour of the Battlefields 1919 by Tom Isitt

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simond9x

I've just read an article about this book in the August edition of 'Bulletin'. It sounds like an interesting read and gets good reviews on Amazon. I just wondered if anyone here has read it and, if so, could  comment on the number of photographs included in the book. There are several accompanying the article but it's unclear (to me) if they are actually taken from the book. If it's reasonably well illustrated, I'll be buying it. Thanks

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simond9x

OK, 53 views, 0 replies, so I thought "sod it, I'll buy it" and I have absolutely no regrets. I haven't actually finished it yet but it is just so 'readable' and enjoyable that I thought I'd put a post up. There may be historical inaccuracies, I don't know, but it's a real page turner. Roughly split into 'an account of the race itself through war-torn landscapes' (45%); an account of the author following their route (45%); and imagined conversations between 1919 cyclists (10%), As a WW1 enthusiast, I actually enjoyed more, the trials and tribulations of the author as he tries (his best) to follow their route. I'm really enjoying this book!

Edited by simond9x

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simond9x

Highly recommended, best book I’ve read since ‘Deborah’.

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Marilyne

Simon,

 

if I'd seen your first post earlier, I might have answered… that I have no idea…

my first idea was that is was about a horse-tour... LOL "riding"... like the seminal "riding the retreat"...

but based on your raving review, I just downloaded the preview on my kindl for later purchase… or not!

 

Thanks for your inputs!

 

M.

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tomisitt

Absolutely delighted you enjoyed it. Thanks for your kind words.

Tom

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simond9x
32 minutes ago, tomisitt said:

Absolutely delighted you enjoyed it. Thanks for your kind words.

Tom

My pleasure! I enjoyed it so much that I ordered a second copy and sent it, anonymously, to a cyclist friend of mine. He’s ridden the Pyrenees West to East, and France North to South. Hopefully it’ll ‘pull him’ into WW1 interest too. If not, I hope he enjoys it as a cycling book as much as I did. Do you by any chance have any additional photos of the 1919 race that you didn’t include in the book? (I suspect not but still....)

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Bob Davies 102

I read this story in the Bulletin, as an old 1940/50s racing cyclist found the story fascinating, must get the book.

Bob  

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tomisitt
11 hours ago, simond9x said:

My pleasure! I enjoyed it so much that I ordered a second copy and sent it, anonymously, to a cyclist friend of mine. He’s ridden the Pyrenees West to East, and France North to South. Hopefully it’ll ‘pull him’ into WW1 interest too. If not, I hope he enjoys it as a cycling book as much as I did. Do you by any chance have any additional photos of the 1919 race that you didn’t include in the book? (I suspect not but still....)

As far as I know, there are only a handful of photos of the race in existence, the best of which were used in the book. There are a couple of others that might be of the Circuit des Champs de Bataille, but might also be of the Paris-Roubaix race from 1919. The best source of post-war battlefields is still the Michelin guides.

Tom

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JohnC
On 15/08/2019 at 16:35, simond9x said:

I've just read an article about this book in the August edition of 'Bulletin'. It sounds like an interesting read and gets good reviews on Amazon. I just wondered if anyone here has read it and, if so, could  comment on the number of photographs included in the book. There are several accompanying the article but it's unclear (to me) if they are actually taken from the book. If it's reasonably well illustrated, I'll be buying it. Thanks

Excellent book, just finished reading it. Also has a very useful bibliography towards the immediate post-war battlefield situation, something which is rarely written about and deserves more attention.

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healdav

I'm reading the book now. One thing which I have now found annoying is that his geography is rather bizarre.

He describes riding out of Paris through Meaux, and then getting to Verdun. After that he heads for Rheims! on the way to Strasbourg.

This is ridiculous. Rheims is west of Verdun and on the same road from Paris. Didn't he look at a map before writing the book?

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tomisitt
9 hours ago, healdav said:

I'm reading the book now. One thing which I have now found annoying is that his geography is rather bizarre.

He describes riding out of Paris through Meaux, and then getting to Verdun. After that he heads for Rheims! on the way to Strasbourg.

This is ridiculous. Rheims is west of Verdun and on the same road from Paris. Didn't he look at a map before writing the book?

Hi healdav, I think you may have that slightly confused. As per the maps in the book, I rode from Meaux (just outside Paris) to Reims, then east to Verdun, south-east to Belfort, then north-east to Strasbourg. Sorry if that isn’t clear in the book. Hope you enjoy it otherwise.

Tom

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healdav
14 hours ago, tomisitt said:

Hi healdav, I think you may have that slightly confused. As per the maps in the book, I rode from Meaux (just outside Paris) to Reims, then east to Verdun, south-east to Belfort, then north-east to Strasbourg. Sorry if that isn’t clear in the book. Hope you enjoy it otherwise.

Tom

What you did is what you have to do. You wouldn't go from London to Liverpool in order to get to Birmingham.

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tomisitt
1 hour ago, healdav said:

What you did is what you have to do. You wouldn't go from London to Liverpool in order to get to Birmingham.

Indeed you wouldn’t, unless you were following the route of a race that went from London to Birmingham via Liverpool. The route of the Circuit des Champs de Bataille took a convoluted anti-clockwise loop around the Western Front, with a diversion into Paris for financial and political reasons. I suppose it made sense to the organisers.

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