A Review: “The Final Race” by Eric Eichinger with Eva Marie Everson

A warm-hearted retelling of Eric Liddell’s unusual journey into the limelight of international fame to a life of relative obscurity as an overseas missionary.

Liddell won Olympic gold in 1924 for the 400-meter race and remained an elite short distance runner with a most unorthodox style and surprisingly little training. But it wasn’t athletic prowess that occupied the heart and mind of “The Flying Scotsman.” Rather, it was the love of God, a passion for the lost, and serving Christ with his wife and life.

 

Eric Liddell of Olympic fame, immortalized by the 1981 Hugh Hudson film, Chariots of Fire, was more far than a principled and uncompromising gold medalist—he was an inspiring husband, father, and missionary who lost his life in a World War II Japanese interment camp within China. Lutheran pastor, Eric Eichinger, with Eva Marie Everson, recount these and thousands of other lesser known facts about one of Scotland’s greatest athletes in The Final Race.

Eichinger and Everson’s biography of Liddell is no Life of Samuel Johnson, but it’s not meant to be an intellectual or psychological account. Rather, it is a warm-hearted, inspirational, yet informative and chronological retelling of Liddell’s unusual journey into the limelight of international fame and headlining opportunities within the United Kingdom to a life of relative obscurity as an overseas missionary.

Liddell truly was a world-class athlete who, even today, would distinguish himself in sprint events and his other sport, rugby.  He played for Scotland’s international rugby team in 1922-23 with natural blazing speed and almost no formal coaching.  He won Olympic gold in 1924 for the 400-meter race and remained an elite short distance runner with a most unorthodox style and surprisingly little training. But it wasn’t athletic prowess that occupied the heart and mind of “The Flying Scotsman”. Rather, it was the love of God, a passion for the lost, and serving Christ with his wife and life.

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