I realize over the past year or more I’ve mused about various elements related to the writing then editing and production of Sprinting Through No Man’s Land, my book about the 1919 Tour de France.
All the while I didn’t have anything meaty to show you. An otherwise blank page with some sales copy has been sitting on various booksellers’ websites, but the book lacked even a cover and copy tends to only show the most commercial elements of a story, written by those who know the book well, but also those who mostly hope it just sells.
Along with the start of this year, we’ve launched the book, available for preorder on your local bookstore, Bookshop, Amazon, etc. and on Goodreads now. I realize I’m the least reliable person to tell you anything else about this book, so I’ll let a few others speak to the book and its writing. I also tweeted a short thread sharing the same news as well as a bit about the book’s inception.
Jason Fagone, the bestselling author of The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies, called Sprinting “Vivid and inspiring. A century ago, in a brutal race like no other, cyclists faced war-torn roads and their own demons, and Dobkin spins through their tale in a sweet gear, showing the power of sport and the resilience of the heart.”
Jen Percy, author of Demon Camp: The Strange and Terrible Saga of a Soldier’s Return from War described it as “A moving and deeply researched book documenting the Tour de France’s rebirth after the Great War. Dobkin’s prose is lyric and at turns intricate and sweeping. He brilliantly captures Europe’s collective longing to rebuild through a competition whose epic terms and improbable cast of characters speak to the hope and uncertainty that defined a generation devastated by violence. More than a chronicle of sport, this is an incredible story of how the mind and body reckon with the scars of war.”
Phil Klay, National Book Award winner and author of Missionaries said “Astonishing. With beautiful prose, compelling narrative, and meticulous research, Adin Dobkin does far more than just record the history of a race—he conjures an entire world reeling in the aftermath of World War I.”
Elliot Ackerman, National Book Award finalist and coauthor of 2034 said the book is “Beautifully written, compellingly told, Adin Dobkin weaves together a masterful narrative of war, returning to the resiliency of the human spirit.”
This book has been most of my life for the past few years. Its bones shares some of the questions, proddings that first drew me to writing: how culture intersects with the immediate and long-term aftermath of a war. It’s also, unsurprisingly, a lot more than that and hopefully reflects the sort of writing I’ll have a greater opportunity to take on in the future (proposal #2 is in-progress right now).
If you follow any other writers, I’m sure you’ve heard them say how important pre-sales are to the book’s eventual success. They show the publisher people are interested in actually reading the thing. That first chunk of sales allows the book to climb charts when it launches. If you have the means to do so, ordering the book would mean a lot to me. But, if you need more convincing, which I entirely understand, we’ll have plenty more in the months leading up to its launch (podcasts, interviews, excerpts, etc.) that you’ll be able to take a look at.
And if you’re in the biz, give me a holler about galleys, etc.
That’s it for the moment.