Book review: Seven Deadly Sins - My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong

By Dylan Cleaver

Photo / Natalie Slade
Photo / Natalie Slade

Seven Deadly Sins - My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong
David Walsh
Simon & Schuster Ltd
RRP: $35

First thing to note, this is not a book about the bike, it's not even really a book about Lance Armstrong, though he remains the central protagonist.

This is a book about journalism, in particular sports journalism, and at times it makes for some fairly uncomfortable reading.

Walsh, whose dogged refusal to sip from Armstrong's barrel of Kool-Aid certainly distinguished him from a lot of his peers, comes across as a man with, at times, little regard for his industry.

That's okay, he's earned that right, but just once or twice the reader is left wondering if a more suitable title would have been: "Why the world of sport would be a much better place if there were more people like me."

Still, Walsh was right; the hundreds of cycling journalists who filed daily reports from the Tour de France, slavishly hanging on every word from seven-time non-champion Armstrong, were wrong.

There's no getting around that fact and even if some of you, like me, have sympathy for their position, there's no doubt that truth-seekers like Walsh have made them look like weak reeds.

What shines through in this book, fired out in impressively quick time after the unravelling of Lance last year, is Walsh's doggedness, his ability to cultivate sources and his near-obsession with bringing down Armstrong.

Do not underestimate the machinery Armstrong had in place to prevent this sort of stuff seeing the light of day.You do not successfully live a lie for a decade without having powerful friends in powerful places.

At times it must have been so easy to fold - his paper, Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Times, clearly thought about it - but the Irishman was made of sterner stuff.

He deserves the kudos coming his way, the royalties and, you'd think, a more relaxing year than the previous 13. Perhaps he'll have time to sit back and enjoy the work of others - though I wouldn't bet on it.

- NZ Herald

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