"The Perfect Mile" written by Neal Bascomb

Essay by forest2087High School, 12th grade May 2006

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The world record of running a mile is 3 minutes 40 seconds, but back in the 50s, running a mile within four minutes was considered as beyond human capacity, or a mission that was impossible to accomplish. The Perfect Mile is a great classic sport book written by Neal Bascomb. The story is about three athletes training so hard to try to break the barrier of running a mile within four minutes. Neal has given every possible detail about the life and sport career of the three heroes. The plot is amazingly chronological and thorough, the characters are very realistic and the theme of sport spirit against the fate is newly presented in the book.

As a sport book, the plot has to be very chronological, and Neal has done a pretty good job on it. Throughout the whole book, the plot was so carefully and cleverly organized. For example:

While officials tried to get the meet running again, Bannister signed autographs, spoke to the press, and thanked the head groundsman, Walter Morris.

Meanwhile, Chris Brasher, who had a talent for getting straight to the point, told the Daily Mail's Terry O'Connor what many were thinking: "Well, we did it," Brasher said. "That means Landy and Wes Stantee can never break the four-minute mile first." (Bascomb 191)

This quote has shown that Neal has not only gathered up the facts, interviewed three athletes in their home, in United States, in England, and in Australia, but put the facts into vivid language. Also as Tim Layden of Sport Illustrated states:

Neal Bascomb has written a book with a breathtaking sense of time and place. Through his rich prose, a reader can feel the wind die before the record-breaking race begins, see a rainbow form in the sky, and hear the...