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The Four-Minute Mile, Fiftieth-Anniversary Edition Paperback – 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: The Lyons Press (2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592285813
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592285815
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 12.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #575,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on Jan. 24 2002
Format: Paperback
Roger Bannister sets about telling the story of his historic record 4 minute mile but in the process he reveals that there is more to life than just running. This book is quite unlike most running books I have read in that Bannister strives to keep things in perspective amid spectacular and historic events. It could just be his British demeanor, but I found narrative rather enjoying.
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Format: Paperback
A great story about a great runner! You keep reading only wishing that he had put more about his career. It reads really slow and much of the book could be skipped over. I recommend the book if you are looking for a background of Bannister starting from birth. I was looking for something about his running.
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By A Customer on Sept. 14 1998
Format: Paperback
Bannister not only was the greatest runner of his time, he also was a incredibly thinking and balanced man. He was an amatuer because he understood running was only a means to a better life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Still a good book Nov. 25 2007
By Zev Kaptowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a cross-country runner in high school this book by Roger Bannister was a great inspiration to me. His description of the assault on the 4 minute mile barrier is fascinating but also memorable are his recollections of the Helsinki Olympics (where Bannister failed to achieve a medal), and his success at the Commonwealth Games where the only two sub-4 minute milers met face to face for the first time.

It's now about 40 years since I first read the book and I was very pleased it was republished in a commemorative edition.

Reading the book again was a joy. The book went very quickly and had most of the excitement of when I first read it. It was not surprising tha the prose and impressions seemed less mature than when I first read them, but that was to be expected as Bannister wrote the book when he was in his twenties.

I was disappointed that the pictures were not the same as the original edition, with perhaps too many pictures of Bannister in later years. The original pictures of the Helsinki Olympics and other competitions were an integral part of the book and it's a shame that they were missing.

Bannisters achievement in breaking the Four Minute Mile was a milestone (pardon the pun), as was the fact that he did it as an amateur and while he was in the middle of his medical studies. In my opinion his book is also a great achievement and is certainly worth the read.
24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Bannister was the epitome of a great man. Sept. 14 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Bannister not only was the greatest runner of his time, he also was a incredibly thinking and balanced man. He was an amatuer because he understood running was only a means to a better life.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
True Perspective on Life & Running Jan. 24 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Roger Bannister sets about telling the story of his historic record 4 minute mile but in the process he reveals that there is more to life than just running. This book is quite unlike most running books I have read in that Bannister strives to keep things in perspective amid spectacular and historic events. It could just be his British demeanor, but I found narrative rather enjoying.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating June 21 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting bk but maybe he should talk more about the running (after all it is the 4 min mile) and introduce his characters before he starts to talk about them.
Records Without a Human Story Have No Life Dec 23 2014
By Matthew Kingore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After a disappointing finish in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, in which he set a British record in the 1500 meters but placed fourth and did not win a medal, Roger Bannister returned to his native England with a single goal in mind—the four-minute mile. But this book is not about records and not about racing the clock. It’s a book about competition. Reading the story from Bannister’s perspective is refreshing. He focuses more on the talented athletes against whom he ran than he does the particular records he set or gut-wrenching workouts he endured while balancing his training against the demands of medical school. (In 1963, Bannister earned his medical degree from Oxford and became a neurologist.)

The four-minute mile, the ‘Dream Mile’ to some, a seemingly insurmountable barrier fell on cool and windy day—May 6, 1954. With 3,000 people in attendance and the race broadcast live on BBC Radio, expectations were high. “The four-minute mile had become rather like an Everest,” Bannister writes in The Four-Minute Mile (1955). He was paced by friends and fellow Olympians Chataway and Brasher, whom he credits for their aid in the historic attempt. But just 46 days later on June 21, Bannister’s new record was broken by his rival, the Australian John Landy, setting up an epic showdown on August 7 at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver. There, the only two men at the time to have broken the four-minute barrier faced off for the first time in a head-to-head foot race with Bannister inching past Landy in the last lap and solidifying Bannister’s legacy.

“Records are the bare bones of athletics, like numbers to a mathematician,” Bannister writes. “Unless given a human touch they have no life, no appeal. Statisticians may juggle with them, some perhaps finding in their concentration on record figures a vicarious fulfillment of their own ambition. Like odds quoted on horses, times may tell you something of a man’s chance of winning, but they can tell you nothing of his style or his length of stride, nor can a javelin thrower’s distances tell you of his grace of throw. They can give you no conception of the joy there is in watching a champion athlete’s supreme integration of movement, his genius at harnessing efficiently power that is partly inborn and partly ingrained by years of training. It is this human touch which makes the difference between the lasting excitement of men running and the temporary thrill of speedway or motor racing.”

In 1975 Bannister was knighted.

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