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Friday, January 22, 2016

BUNION DERBY: THE 1928 FOOTRACE ACROSS AMERICA (audiobook) by Charles B. Kastner

A Fascinating Story.

Published by University Press Audiobooks in 2015
Read by Andrew L. Barnes
Duration: 6 hours, 36 minutes

In 1928 a sports promoter named Charles C. Pyle had an interesting idea: a footrace across America - from Los Angeles to New York City. This race would be run in timed stages (like the Tour de France) with pre-planned stops along the way. The winner would get $10,000 and the first two-thirds of the race would highlight Route 66.

Pyle brought in legendary football player Red Grange as a celebrity promoter and made grand plans for each stop, including a travelling carnival. 

199 men paid the $100 entrance fee and started the race. 55 made it to the end. Along the way they ran, walked and even crawled through searing heat, snow, rain, dust storms, sleet and more. They also faced dog attacks, surges of crowds and the African-American runners faced racist threats in some states. A surprising number of runners were struck by cars. 

I was contacted to review this book in exchange for a free digital copy of the audiobook. I agreed, thinking that this book could be a real snoozer but if I were lucky it could be fairly interesting. I am glad to report that this book was more than just "interesting." I found it to be an extremely well-told story and I couldn't wait to get back to the audiobook to see what would happen next. 

The audiobook was read by Andrew L. Barnes. He has a folksy way of reading that makes the story that makes it seem less of a dry history and more of just a great tale full of interesting people that sheds a unique light on who America was in 1928. He makes it fun and, at times, poignant.

I highly recommend this audiobook.

5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America

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