Pre includes Steve Prefontaine's high school career up to his Olympic competition. Tom Jordan does an exceptional job describing both Pre’s life on and off the track. Through this book you will learn the true personality of Pre as an athlete and a man.
Many insightful interviews are recorded in this book. In fact interviews are almost the entire book. I have no problem with this because it really enhances and makes the story of Pre more personal. One of the better interviews was with the athlete with whom Pre shared his trailer home. In addition to interviews, the author includes many heart-racing and exciting commentaries on Pre’s races. These descriptions keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the book. The races are spaced evenly throughout the book so there is never a dull moment when you are reading.
On top of this, the author goes to great lengths to describe the personality of Pre. He gives many examples, saying that Pre would do anything for his fans. One of the connections he made about this was the fast mile Pre ran in bad conditions. Pre had invited fans to watch him run a mile for practice. However, when he arrived for practice smoke was in the air from farmers burning crops. The air would be unhealthy for Pre to breathe. But, instead of disappointing fans, Pre ran anyway. Later, he was discovered to have lung problems because of this practice. The author continues to connect Pre’s actions to his personality throughout the entire book.
I do feel the need for some criticism for this great book. Sometimes it seems as though the author is just listing times and places from Steve’s races. I understand how this might happen because Steve Prefontaine did have many great accomplishments. Still at some parts of the book, Pre, this becomes boring and repetitive. Also, Pre did many things throughout his career, suprisingly some of his greatest accomplishments were not in this book. Tom Jordan left out most of the events in Steve Prefontaine’s Cross Country seasons. It is true that Prefontaine preferred Track to Cross Country but he still enjoyed the excitement of Cross Country. Outdoor and Indoor Track were heavily emphasized (for good reason) but maybe it was done a little too much.
As to the flow of Tom Jordan’s writing, he did a very good job. The sentence structure kept the writing going along and differing lengths of sentences added some variety. Also, good descriptive words gave readers a good image of what was happening to Pre at that point in the book. This book has encouraged me to try to find more books by Tom Jordan.
One of the greatest aspects of this book is what I would call the “epicness.” My definition of epicness is something large scale that affects many people. This is certainly the case for Pre. This book conveys how epic Pre’s career and races were. For example many pages are spent on what was called the greatest race of all time. The book describes the home crowd (Oregon where Pre lived) and the excitement surging through it. The book also tells how many people not even present for the race were excited by it. This was a job well done, making Pre's life easy to visualize.
Lastly, the book conveys the great tragedy when Pre lost his life at the age of only 24. To fill you in, coming back from a party Pre crashed his car, killing him. It is debatable whether he was under the influence at the time or not. Anyway, Tom Jordan tells of the sadness of athletes, spectators, and everyone at his unexpected death. The book makes it very emotional and pays great respect to the greatest American running legend.
All in all, this was a fun read. It was inspirational, interesting, and worth it. I would give the book, Pre, 5 stars, no doubt about it.