Max Leonard, author of Lanterne Rouge: the Last Man in the Tour de France and the Rapha City Cycling Europe guides has just received an award for his latest book, Bunker Research. The British Book Design and Production Awards made him the winner of the Self-Published Books category.
Max is a contributor to Rouleur Magazine and has worked for Rapha and Strava as a writer. The idea for Bunker Research came about when he was researching and writing another book about cycling in the mountains. Speaking to Lecool Magazine, he explained how he came across these “weird concrete cubes and metal domes overlooking the roads or up on ridges, and I became fascinated.” He discovered that they were fortifications built before the Second World War to protect France from Mussolini.
Strategically placed throughout the Alps the bunkers were built out of reinforced concrete and the constructions blend into their rugged, pristine environment. He sees them as enduring features in the landscape and relics from a different time in world politics. They will survive for many years to come and while they do:
He describes the book as “…the story of an obsession; or rather, two obsessions running like parallel tracks over the course of more than a hundred years…” He worked in collaboration with Camille McMillan, the cycling photographer whose career spans two decades and at least eight editions of the Tour de France. He has been raising funds through kickstarter for a book of his own, The Circus. The images in Bunker Research are stunning, beautiful and at times, haunting.
Max now intends to get on with the original book he had been planning before he got distracted by the Alpine bunkers. Speaking to Lecool, he says:
That sounds like another fascinating book to come and one that we’re anticipating with bated breath. In the meantime, you can order his current book online by going to the Bunker Research website at a cost of £30.