Book Reviews,  NON FICTION,  Sports

The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb *** (of 4)

Until the 1950s scientists and athletes believed that running a mile in under four minutes was physiologically impossible when suddenly three athletes — a Brit, an Australian, and an American — had the goal within their sights.  Until their attempts, training for running events was a largely haphazard affair.  It was not uncommon for top flight athletes to smoke, drink, and workout less than two hours a day.  The world’s attention was suddenly directed at John Landy, Ed Santee, and Roger Bannister as separately, but fully aware of the other’s incremental approaches to four minutes, they trained harder than any preceding milers.  Similar to Seabiscuit in style, but not as compelling, the book is strongest in recounting races, but wanting in the intervening weeks and months when describing the runner’s lives.