By Michael Barry for the Wall Street Journal.

As a young boy who dreamed of riding the Tour de France, I devoured any cycling-related book or magazine I could find. That included Peter Nye’s detailed yet poetic account of American bicycle racing. First published in 1988, his book helped fuel my ambitions and gave me great insight into the sport’s biggest races—how they unfolded, the characters who animated them and the ebb and flow of the sport through periods of change. The second edition of Mr. Nye’s book, “Hearts of Lions” (Nebraska, 513 pages, $39.95), has been revised and updated to include the major events of the past 30 years.

I eventually got to race in many of the events Mr. Nye writes about, including the Tour, the Olympics and Paris-Roubaix, and came to know many of the people he interviewed, from both my era and before. “From one generation to the next,” Mr. Nye writes, “riders are connected like legs to their torsos. All that separates cyclists today from those of the past is a series of overlapped wheels.”

Read the full book review.