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Boston Marathon books cover triumphs after tragedy

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  March 7, 2014 02:06 PM

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With a little over a month to go before the 2014 Boston Marathon, a number of books have been published about the tragic events that occurred during last year's race, and the inspiring stories that have come to light since.

Following is an overview of some of the new books on the Boston Marathon that have recently been published:

The 27th_mileThe 27th Mile
By Ray Charbonneau; paperback

Publisher’s summary: The 27th Mile includes a mix of fiction and non-fiction contributed by a wide range of talented writers who run. They're marathon champions and weekend warriors, ultramarathon racers and fitness joggers, running magazine pros and bloggers, best-selling novelists and indie publishing standouts, people like Amby Burfoot, Lawrence Block, Kathrine Switzer, and Ben Tanzer.

Within the book, you'll find stories that extol the spirit that first got us out on the roads to run, that brought us to Boston on a sunny spring day, and that will bring us back to Hopkinton next year, and in the years that follow. It's the spirit we celebrate every time we go for a run, whatever the distance.

The 27th Mile is dedicated to everyone who loves running or runners--first and foremost to those who were killed or injured at the marathon, but also to the people who, even as they eat dinner with their family, put in another eight hours at work, or sit and read this book, have already planned when they'll go out for their next run.

4:09.434:09:43: Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners
By Hal Higdon; paperback

Publisher’s summary: In the first book on this tragic event, 4:09:43, Hal Higdon, a contributing editor at Runner’s World, tells the tale of the Boston Marathon bombings. The book’s title refers to the numbers on the finish-line clock when the first bomb exploded.

In 4:09:43, Higdon views Boston 2013 through the eyes of those running the race. You will meet George, a runner from Athens, birthplace of the modern marathon, who at sunrise joins the eerie march of silent runners, all aimed at their appointments in Hopkinton, where the marathon starts. You will meet Michele, who at age 2 helped her mother hand water to runners, who first ran the marathon while a student at Wellesley College, and who decided to run Boston again mainly because her daughter Shannon was now a student at Boston University. You will meet Tracy, caught on Boylston Street between the two explosions, running for her life. You will meet Heather, a Canadian, who limped into the Medical Tent with bloody socks from blisters, soon to realize that worse things exist than losing a toenail.

In "4:09:43," Higdon presents these stories, condensing and integrating them into a smooth-flowing narrative that begins with runners boarding the buses at Boston Common, continues with the wait at the Athletes' Village in Hopkinton, and flows through eight separate towns. The story does not end until the 23,000 participants encounter the terror on Boylston Street. "These are not 75 separate stories," says Higdon. "This is one story told as it might have been by a single runner with 75 pairs of eyes."

Long Mile HomeLong Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City's Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice
By Scott Helman and Jenna Russell; hardcover

Publisher’s summary: Long Mile Home will tell the gripping story of the tragic, surreal, and ultimately inspiring week of April 15, 2013: the preparations of the bombers; the glory of the race; the extraordinary emergency response to the explosions; the massive deployment of city, state, and federal law enforcement personnel; and the nation’s and the world’s emotional and humanitarian response before, during, and after the apprehension of the suspects.

The authors, both journalists at The Boston Globe, are backed by that paper’s deep, relentless, and widely praised coverage of the event. Through the eyes of seven principal characters including the bombers, the wounded, a victim, a cop, and a doctor, Helman and Russell will trace the distinct paths that brought them together. With an unprecedented level of detail and insight, the book will offer revelations, insights, and powerful stories of heroism and humanity.

Long Mile Home will also highlight the bravery, resourcefulness, and resiliency of the Boston community. It will portray the city on its worst day but also at its best.

If Not For the Perfect StrangerIf Not for the Perfect Stranger
By Boston Marathon runners, spectators, and first responders, edited by Diane Montiel and Steve Alexander; paperback

Publisher’s summary: After the worst happened, Boston was at its best. A series of perfect strangers provided life saving and life sustaining assistance to spectators and runners in need. From a shirt ripped off to be used as a tourniquet for the critically wounded, to a sweater, phone call, or just a hug for the cold, lost and scared. Over 40 spectators, runners and first responders share their stories of the moments of grace that not only saved lives, but created unbreakable bonds.

"The stories in this book of extraordinary kindness from perfect strangers are uplifting, reaffirming and healing. But I hope you’ll take them a step further: be inspired to be a perfect stranger in someone else’s life." -- Tedy Bruschi

26.2 miles to Boston26.2 Miles to Boston
By Michael Connelly; paperback

Publisher’s summary: This all-new edition, which follows the Boston Marathon into the 21st century and through the tragedy of the 2013 race, is a colorful and moving portrait of what it feels like to run the world’s oldest annual marathon, escorting the reader through the past, present, and bright future of the race.

26.2 Miles to Boston is a rich, vibrant, and inspiring history of the Boston Marathon and of the men and women of varying abilities whose struggles and triumphs have colored this historic event for over a century.

From suburban Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to the center of metropolitan Boston, the author takes readers through the mile-by-mile sights, sounds, and traditions that make the race what it is.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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