The story of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong isn’t just about the greatest doping conspiracy in sports history—it's about the nature of corruption, whether in athletics, business, politics or society at large. Blending memoir that recounts his own family’s struggles with cancer and reportage from Europe's elite racing circuit (including access to riders such as Carlos Sastre and Ryder Hesjedel), journalist Richard Poplak draws out the parallels between the elaborate, cult-like regime constructed around Armstrong and the sort of corruption he's witnessed first-hand in the developing world. This book is not a definitive account of the Lance Armstrong era. It does not divulge any new information on his many years as a doper and cyclist. Rather, Braking Bad is an incisive, eloquent, and thought-provoking meditation on the most human of foibles, corruption, and how it preys so auspiciously on the most human of virtues, idealism and hope.
Chasing the Heretics is an unusual blend of history and travel in southern France. Rion Klawinski begins his journey in search of the facts surrounding a murder that happened in 1209, and continues on to trace the steps of the Cathars, a 13th century religious sect, and the Albigensian Crusade against them. In doing so, he uncovers the almost forgotten history of a group of doomed believers whose influence is still felt in the picturesque Languedoc region. His own experiences traversing the ruggedly beautiful countryside and meandering through the vibrant cities and villages of Languedoc offer a counterpoint to his historical explorations, making his contemporary journey appealing to tourists, armchair travelers, and history buffs alike.