Author(s): Harry Pearson
LONGLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019
'A joy.' o Ned Boulting
Every nation shapes sport to test the character traits it most admires.
In The Beast, the Emperor and the Milkman, committed Belgophile and road cycling obsessive Harry Pearson takes you on a journey across Flanders, through the lumpy horizontal rain, up the elbow juddering cobbled inclines, past the fans dressed as chickens and the shop window displays of constipation medicines, as he follows races big, small and even smaller through one glorious, muddy spring.
Ranging over 500 years of Flemish and European history, across windswept polders, along back roads and through an awful lot of beer cafes, Pearson examines the characters, the myths and rivalries that make Flanders a place where cycling is a religion and the riders its lycra-clad priests.