Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
simond9x

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

Recommended Posts

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
simond9x

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tomisitt

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

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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....)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Scorer

This is another book that's just arrived and is on the pile to be read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mjh

just read this thread. I bought the kindle version as soon as it came out. it's a great read. Well done Tom ! 

Edited by mjh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michelle Young

Used part of my birthday money to buy this. Looking forward to reading it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tomisitt
On 31/03/2020 at 21:43, mjh said:

just read this thread. I bought the kindle version as soon as it came out. it's a great read. Well done Tom ! 

Thank you, so glad you enjoyed it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michelle Young

It arrived today. Looking forward to reading it 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Scorer

I was interested in this book when I saw mention of it at the start of this topic, as it was something that I'd never heard of - and thought I ought to know about.

 

Well, I found it absolutely fascinating, both in a historical sense and the modern attempt by the author to follow in their footsteps (or should that be wheel tracks?). The background to the race is well described and easy to understand for a non-cyclist, and the description of what the originals had to go through is amazing.

 

It has good guys, badd(ish) guys, the ordinary riders, and of course, a hero! This is Louis Ellner of France, who started the race last, and finished last (winning the Lanterne Rouge as the last finisher on every stage) but the description of what he had to go through is stunning. I'm absolutely sure that I wouldn't want do what he did (and equally sure that I couldn't!) so I have the fullest of admiration for him.

 

The story of the original race and the writer's journey is woven together very well, and the latter does not interfere with the former. I'm not a cyclist and never have been, although I know quite a few people who are, but I would recommend this book to both kinds of people. 

 

My thanks to Tom for producing the book - and well done for completing the course!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michelle Young

Very enjoyable and interesting reading, not particularly taxing but what I needed at the present moment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
aengland

Also just finished reading this.  A fascinating book..... tough men riding in tough conditions.  I was particularly fascinated by the acceptance that alcohol and drugs were OK, and that the riders had to repair their own bikes!  I ride a bike around Norfolk's country lanes but this placed my easy riding into perspective, just the weather that these riders experienced was something else, let alone the road conditions!  Well, I salute them!  An easy and good read. ACE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tomisitt

FYI, the paperback edition is published today and is available at all good bookshops and online retailers, priced £9.99 (or less on Amazon)

66F9E248-3CA8-4204-8694-329AEEF11F01.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...