NOT FOR GLORY, NOT FOR GOLD by Keith Miles

NOT FOR GLORY, NOT FOR GOLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Unlike James McNeish's sensitive Lovelock (see above), this is a simple-minded attempt--as absurd as its subtitle: ""The Athletics Novel of the Century""--to snare a little Seoul gold with the story of the three milers who vied to be the first to break four minutes. Basing this ""novel"" on a screenplay by David Williamson, Miles tells the story of the Englishman Roger Bannister; the American Wes Santee; and the Australian John Landy, all world-class middle-distance runners in the years after WW II. All the clichÉs are there: Bannister's becoming English modesty, his commitment to his medical studies; Santee's arrogance; Landy's determination. Cutting inelegantly among the three of them, Miles uses rah-rah prose (""Truly. Roger Bannister and John Landy had given themselves with total commitment to the sport they both loved"") to detail the competition that ended on May 6, 1954, with Bannister running a 3.59.4, using trained ""rabbits"" to pace him on each lap. Landy soon lowered that to 3.57.9, but Santee failed utterly, in part because the AAU banned him for a year for accepting a ""gratuity"" after a race--a camera (which seems absurd in light of today's payments to ""amateur"" athletes). The book closes with Bannister and Landy's great duel in a Mile of the Century race in Vancouver. A blah, tiresome ""fictional"" recap of a famous sports story.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1988
Publisher: Century Hutchinson--dist. by David & Charles