The Comeback chronicles the life of one of America’s greatest athletes, from his roots in the windswept hills of Nevada's Washoe Valley to the heights of his global fame at the Tour de France. With a swift narrative drive and fierce attention to detail, Daniel de Visé reveals the dramatic, ultra-competitive inner world of a sport rarely glimpsed up close, and builds a compelling case for LeMond as its great American hero.
Coming June 5 from Atlantic Monthly Press
“The Comeback is an eye-popping ride, sweeping the reader through the extreme eccentricities of endurance cycling. But the heart of the story, the charismatic spirit and re-crowning of America’s authentic cycling champion Greg LeMond, is what makes you cheer through the pages.” -- Diana Nyad, author of Find a Way and the only person to swim between Cuba and the United States.
"Greg LeMond was Lance Armstrong before Lance Armstrong--and he won his three Tours de France WITHOUT cheating. The Comeback is the story of a true hero and his remarkable comeback to win arguably the most dramatic Tour de France in history. This is a must read if you believe in miracles." -- John Feinstein, bestselling author of Season on the Brink and The First Major.
“Once in a blue moon a sports book comes along appealing to a such a broad audience that it becomes a perennial favorite of neighborhood reading groups--Boys in the Boat and Seabiscuit being prime examples. Now make way for The Comeback by Daniel de Visé, a superbly well-crafted narrative. For devotees of the sport of bicycle racing, and for those with little knowledge of it, this book will satisfy in every way.” -- Paul Dickson, author of Bill Veeck and Leo Durocher.
“Greg LeMond is an American sporting hero whose story would surely be rejected by Hollywood as too fanciful. It includes taking on and beating the French at their own game, a near-fatal shooting, a career in apparently terminal decline, an extraordinary comeback, and a bitter feud with his successor. Remarkably, it’s all true, and The Comeback is the first book to document the full LeMond story in all its astonishing, scarcely credible detail.” -- Richard Moore, author of Slaying the Badger and host of The Cycling Podcast.
"Daniel de Visé has written a gripping account of what is widely considered to be the greatest finish in Tour de France history. His meticulously researched story of the professional and personal life of LeMond is enhanced by compelling descriptions of the cast of heroes and villains who built him up….. and tried unsuccessfully to tear him down." -- Bob Bowen, president of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
"Daniel de Visé explores one of cycling’s epic duels, on the final day of the 1989 Tour de France when America’s Greg LeMond had recovered from a life-threatening shotgun blast to score a heroic come-from-behind triumph over France’s Laurent Fignon. In The Comeback, de Visé portrays the complex personalities of LeMond and Fignon in a narrative freighted with nuanced analyses, thorough research, and a narrative that rocks." -- Peter Joffre Nye, cycling historian, author of Hearts of Lions and The Fast Times of Albert Champion.
So, Who am I, and why have I written a book about Andy Griffith and Don Knotts?
I am a native Chicagoan and a career journalist. I entered the news business at age 23, along with my wife, moving down to Florida and taking a reporting job at the now-defunct Boca Raton News. I progressed from there to daily newspapers in Long Beach, San Diego, Miami and Washington, D.C. A story I wrote for The Washington Post became a book, and while co-writing that book, I left the field and turned my attention to book-writing.
In fall 2012, I took my family to Mayberry Days, the annual celebration staged in Mount Airy, North Carolina, birthplace of Andy Griffith. My work on the first book was nearly done, and I was thinking of writing a chronicle of that annual festival. I bought two legal pads and set to work.
The Andy Griffith Show was one of my favorites in childhood, and I continued to watch the program sporadically as an adult. But that wasn't why I wanted to write a story about Mayberry Days. The reason was my family connection to Don Knotts.
Don was in a relationship with and then married to my wife's sister, Francey, from the mid-1980s until his death in 2006. I first met Don on one of their trips to Disney World, around 1991. When my wife, Sophie, and I moved to L.A. in 1992, we began to see a lot of Don. I won't reiterate everything that's in the acknowledgement section of the book; suffice to say that Don became a fixture at family get-togethers, and I took every opportunity to ply him with questions about his wondrous career. I am a writer, and I had always wanted to write something about Don. But he was busy, and I was busy, and I never got around to asking him, so it never happened... until fall 2012, when suddenly I had some time on my hands.
The writing project quickly evolved into a book, and I spent the next two years writing it. Along the way, I had the enormous pleasure of interviewing many of my heroes, including Ron Howard, Joyce DeWitt, Billy Bob Thornton, Lee Grant, Jim Nabors, Tim Conway, and Lee Meriwether - - yes, TV's Catwoman.
There's a lot more to tell, but I don't want to give away the entire story in one blog post. Ask me a question in the comments section, and I'll do my best to answer it. And I hope you enjoy the book!