Outstanding: a must for cycling enthusiasts and recommended to lovers and haters of France, general sports fans, or anyone...



An amusing British writer creates a lively swirl of action and observation as he bicycles the route of the 2000 Tour de France.

Six weeks before the official Tour started, 35-year-old Moore (Frost on My Moustache, 2000, etc.) began the 2,256-mile circuit of France that finishes on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. Since 1904, when winner Maurice Garin was disqualified for riding a train, the Tour has a rich history of cheating, a tradition that Moore quickly embraces. He lops off the first 400 miles of the race, then in the Pyrenees circumvents the steep climb called Lourdes-Hautacam and walks up the Col de Marie-Blanc. Satisfaction does come with increased endurance and successful ascents of the Cols de Galibier and Izoard in the Alps. Moore observes a changing France as he rides; small towns are dying, and local cycle clubs ride with a casualness that underlies a national softening. His wife and three noisy kids show up for the Alpine section, offering a contrast to the orderly French families. Moore's expertise on Tour history carries the narrative; from Paul Kimmage's race laundry tips to Bernard Hinault's champagne-filled water bottles, interesting detail abounds. The author gladly plays the old game of Anglo-French sniping, firing entertaining blasts at the Tour’s unhelpful PR department, hostile hotel clerks, and condescending chefs. At the end, Moore clicks through 3,000 kilometers (1,863 miles) in Paris, compares his joyful, disbelieving smile to Hitler's at the Arc de Triomphe in 1940, and provides an earthy coda asserting that on some days, five breakfast croissants are not enough. Throughout, he employs colloquial British English—“bollocks,” “poxy,” and “ponce” lead the list of words, phrases, and inside national jokes that remind us we are not in Kansas anymore.

Outstanding: a must for cycling enthusiasts and recommended to lovers and haters of France, general sports fans, or anyone who has ever cheated at anything.

Pub Date: June 7, 2002

ISBN: 0-312-29045-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Did you like this book?



An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Did you like this book?