Evel by Leigh Montville

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From New York Times bestselling author Leigh Montville, this riveting and definitive new biography pulls back the red, white, and blue cape on a cultural icon—and reveals the unknown, complex, and controversial man known to millions around the world as Evel Knievel.

Evel Knievel was a high-flying daredevil, the father of extreme sports, the personification of excitement and dan­ger and showmanship . . . and in the 1970s Knievel repre­sented a unique slice of American culture and patriotism. His jump over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace led to a crash unlike anything ever seen on television, and his attempt to rocket over Snake River Canyon in Idaho was something only P. T. Barnum could have orchestrated. The dazzling motorcycles and red-white-and-blue outfits became an integral part of an American decade. Knievel looked like Elvis . . . but on any given Saturday afternoon millions tuned in to the small screen to see this real-life action hero tempt death.

But behind the flash and the frenzy, who was the man? Bestselling author Leigh Montville masterfully explores the life of the complicated man from the small town of Butte, Montana. He delves into Knievel’s amazing place in pop culture, as well as his notorious dark side—and his complex and often contradictory relationships with his image, the media, his own family, and his many demons. Evel Knievel’s story is an all-American saga, and one that is largely untold. Leigh Montville once again delivers a definitive biography of a one-of-a-kind sports legend.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Leigh Montville

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Three-time New York Times bestselling author Leigh Montville is a former columnist at the Boston Globe and former senior writer at Sports Illustrated. He is the author of The Mysterious Montague, The Big Bam, Ted Williams, At the Altar of Speed, Manute, and Why Not Us?

Author Residence: Boston
Published April 26, 2011 by Anchor. 426 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors, Humor & Entertainment, History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Evel

Publishers Weekly

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Best-selling author Montville (The Big Bam) takes on the controversial daredevil Evel Knievel revealing an intimate, often alarming, and ultimately sad portrait of a man who lived precariously, both o

Jun 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Evel

The New York Times

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The Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle was the most popular Christmas toy in America in 1973, eventually earning Knievel millions of dollars.

May 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Evel

Los Angeles Times

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The author takes readers along for the ride on the iconic motorcycle daredevil's stunning feats, spectacular failures and the wildly colorful life in between.

May 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Evel


At the peak of his fame, he purported to be a role model for American youth (children’s toys made him rich—the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle out-sold Barbie in the early 1970s) yet publicly and frequently cheated on his wife.

Jun 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Evel

Bookmarks Magazine

By jonTue, 05/10/2011 - 14:50.

May 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Evel

The Hollywood Reporter

Between Christmas 1973 and its cancellation in December 1977, Ideal sold more than $100 million worth of Knievel toys, netting the jumper perhaps $10 million (Knievel was not a record keeper).

Jun 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Evel


Leigh Montville, a premier sportswriter, has as the subject of his latest book one of the goofiest, most preposterous American sports entertainers ever: legendary motorcycle daredevil and extreme showman Evel Knievel — the crazy guy who jumped motorcycles over lines of cars, trucks, even buses an...

Nov 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Evel

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