Thursday, June 21, 2007

Positively Here

Our copy of Positively False arrived from Amazon this afternoon, and we didn't spend much time eating this evening while doing the quick read. Most of the revelations are already known, and TBV is in too deep to know what's really new and what stories we've heard a few times before.

  • McQuaid said give up -- told at DPF long ago;
  • Offered deal for getting Lance -- double old news;
  • Other USADA cases dropped to get Landis -- more details than earlier reports, but not massively so. We'd heard this months ago, without the details.
  • Eveything about the Lemond story -- retold from testimony and DPF.
  • Enumeration of how Mr. Pound has wronged Landis -- well known, but succinctly put.
Positively False is a good short summary of the standard story. Because of brevity, it's not particularly deep, being only 306 pages. It does a pretty good job of capturing Landis' distinctive speech patterns. This makes it a pretty good snapshot of the way he tells the stories when he's being prudent and toning down the sarcasm. There's a bit of the wiseass present, but it's impossible to capture the essence of his unstudied wryful nature in print. The completist will also want to read "The Book of Floyd" in Coyle's "Lance Armstrong's War" which covers some of the same ground in even more succinct form.

There were a few new amusing anecdotes sprinkled in. One involves dad Paul Landis' adventures in videotaping at early races. At one race, he found himself sucked into interviewing another rider, who seemed to have mistaken his ancient two piece (camera + separate deck) betamax rig as being from a broadcast station. The telling accurately captures Paul's simultaneous courtesy (going along), chagrin at the situation, and dry humour in retelling the story.

There are a few Geoghegan stories that illuminate how much influence Will has had on Landis. The length of their relationship, back to Landis' high school, makes it apparent why what happened later was so difficult to address.

The book concludes with a seven page Epilogue/Afterward about the hearing, where The Call is presented as what happened when, as it says, "Will cracked."

This is consistent with our read of the situation as it happened, and really offers only a new depth to the tragedy of the whole affair.

Those worried about the implications on the gag order for the hearing shouldn't feel too threatened, we don't think. What's presented about the case isn't particularly incendiary compared to some of the earlier rhetoric, and I don't think there's anything worth complaining about.

On the critical information front, we get our (one) mention on page 252*, and what it says is reasonably accurate. So all of our family will get a copy for Christmas, or at some other timely gift giving occasion.

If you're reading here at all, probably you'll want a copy too, validating whatever conclusions you already hold.


*This is called the "Washington Read", except the book does not contain the index that makes that really possible. A Washington Read is where Someone in our Nation's Capital hears of their mention in a new work of non fiction. The either go to the book store or send a staffer, who looks in the index for the Someone's name. The "reader" checks only the pages referenced. If the mentions are either flattering or otherwise important, then the book may be purchased.)