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Marathon Man by William Goldman
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Marathon Man (original 1974; edition 2001)

by William Goldman

Series: Marathon (1)

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6301315,406 (3.86)25
Member:mainrun
Title:Marathon Man
Authors:William Goldman
Info:Ballantine Books (2001), Edition: 1st Ballantine Books ed, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Read before joining LibraryThing, Recommended Books
Rating:****
Tags:thriller

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Marathon Man by William Goldman (1974)

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» See also 25 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
William Goldman is right up there with Elmore Leonard. He's worked well in several Genres and this book resonates very well with me. "The man who knew too much" is one of my favourite tropes (or is it a Meme?), and the reveals are handled very well Read it at least twice! ( )
  DinadansFriend | Nov 4, 2013 |
"Is it safe? Is it safe?"

When I was eight or so (possibly younger), I strayed on the torture scene from the film of the same name on a hotel room TV. I've never quite forgotten it, and i don't think I'll ever quite forget this book.

Thomas Babington Levy is a struggling graduate student majoring in history at Columbia University and a marathon man, training to run in his first marathon. His brother ostensibly works in the oil industry, but is really an agent in a shadowy U.S. government operation called the Division. When Thomas's brother dies in his arms, Thomas ("Babe") finds himself unwittingly drawn into his brother's world, one of espionage and deceit. He's now in a battle of wits with a Nazi dentist and a rogue agent, and Babe finds he must draw upon the few resources he has to survive.

This book marked a first for me in that when Babe decided he didn't care whether he lived or died, only that he got his revenge, I found myself agreeing with him. ( )
  stacy_chambers | Aug 22, 2013 |
This review from the Washington Post says it all...

"There are two literary virtues that one wishes hadn't become cliches: 'It's a good read' and 'It exists on several levels.' One wishes these hadn't become cliches because they are the two obvious virtues of William Goldman's MARATHON MAN. It is one hell of a read. And it does exist on several levels, all of them superb."

I've been picking it up lately just to poke around and re-re-re-read certain chapters, scenes, snippets of dialogue... I loved it back in high school when my mom insisted I read her old paperback copy, and I still love it today. ( )
  beth.t.goldstein | Apr 24, 2013 |
A classic thriller from the author of [b:The Princess Bride|21787|The Princess Bride |William Goldman|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51244A5RWML._SL75_.jpg|992628].

In the late 1970s my father had a rather serious heart attack. Neighbors thoughtfully brought over books for him to read while he was bedridden. Naturally enough, they picked the bestsellers of that time. I'm not sure if Dad read all of them, but I did. [b:Shogun|402093|Shogun|James Clavell|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1191871792s/402093.jpg|1755568], [b:Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy|18989|Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy|John le Carré|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1167175744s/18989.jpg|2491780], and Marathon Man were among them.

By an odd coincidence, all of those books have ended up being lifetime favorites for me.

In many ways, Marathon Man is quite dated. It was written in the early 1970s, and is very much a work of its time - both in the writing style that Goldman uses, and in the plot. A graduate student, the son of a celebrated intellectual who was destroyed by McCarthyism, finds himself caught up in a bizarre situation with Nazis, torture, family, love, and murder. And running, of course; he's a marathon man. Despite the early-70s feel, however, the book works.

Every reviewer talks about the dentistry scene. That's understandable, since it's very memorable. But good as it is, there are at least two other scenes in the book which are better than that one. And one of them has never yet failed to give me the shivers and make the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

Even though I've read the book at least ten times in the past thirty years - and to be honest that's just a guess, I'd bet it's closer to twenty times - and even though that scene has always stuck in my mind, it still never fails to get me. If you'd like to know which scene I'm thinking of, read the book; if it isn't obvious to you after that, drop me a line.

A good book, well worth reading. I liked the movie too. ( )
  PMaranci | Apr 3, 2013 |
A classic thriller from the author of [b:The Princess Bride|21787|The Princess Bride |William Goldman|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51244A5RWML._SL75_.jpg|992628].

In the late 1970s my father had a rather serious heart attack. Neighbors thoughtfully brought over books for him to read while he was bedridden. Naturally enough, they picked the bestsellers of that time. I'm not sure if Dad read all of them, but I did. [b:Shogun|402093|Shogun|James Clavell|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1191871792s/402093.jpg|1755568], [b:Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy|18989|Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy|John le Carré|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1167175744s/18989.jpg|2491780], and Marathon Man were among them.

By an odd coincidence, all of those books have ended up being lifetime favorites for me.

In many ways, Marathon Man is quite dated. It was written in the early 1970s, and is very much a work of its time - both in the writing style that Goldman uses, and in the plot. A graduate student, the son of a celebrated intellectual who was destroyed by McCarthyism, finds himself caught up in a bizarre situation with Nazis, torture, family, love, and murder. And running, of course; he's a marathon man. Despite the early-70s feel, however, the book works.

Every reviewer talks about the dentistry scene. That's understandable, since it's very memorable. But good as it is, there are at least two other scenes in the book which are better than that one. And one of them has never yet failed to give me the shivers and make the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

Even though I've read the book at least ten times in the past thirty years - and to be honest that's just a guess, I'd bet it's closer to twenty times - and even though that scene has always stuck in my mind, it still never fails to get me. If you'd like to know which scene I'm thinking of, read the book; if it isn't obvious to you after that, drop me a line.

A good book, well worth reading. I liked the movie too.
  PMaranci | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345439724, Paperback)

William Goldman's remarkable career spans more than five decades, and his credentials run the gamut from bestselling novelist to Oscar-winning screenwriter to Hollywood raconteur. He's beloved by millions of readers as the author of the classic comic-romantic fantasy The Princess Bride. And he's notorious for creating the most harrowing visit to the dentist in literary and cinematic history--in one of the seminal thrillers of the twentieth century. . . .

MARATHON MAN

Tom "Babe" Levy is a runner in every sense: racing tirelessly toward his goals of athletic and academic excellence--and endlessly away from the specter of his famous father's scandal-driven suicide. But an unexpected visit from his beloved older brother will set in motion a chain of events that plunge Babe into a vortex of terror, treachery, and murder--and force him into a race for his life . . . and for the answer to the fateful question, "Is it safe?"

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:10 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

One of the most memorably harrowing encounters between a villain and victim is in Goldman's suspense masterpiece "Marathon Man." A seminal thriller of the 20th century, the bestseller will enthrall a whole new generation of readers in the 21st.

(summary from another edition)

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