The Final Race
On July 19, 1924, Eric Liddell was on top of the world.He was the most famous Briton at the time, having just won the gold in the Olympic 400-meter race. The story of that race--and the one he didn't run--was told in the popular movie classic Chariots of Fire.But what most of us don't know is what became of Eric Liddell in the years after the credits rolled. As the storm clouds of World War II rolled in, Eric had already made decisions in his life that gave him the resilience to stand tall while others fell into despair. His strength of character led him to choose an uncertain future in China during World War II in order to continue helping the Chinese. He lived purposefully even as his world crumbled and he experienced the horror and deprivations of a Japanese internment camp.Eric's story is a story of hope in the face of uncertainty, resilience in the face of unspeakable odds, and inspiring vision of what life means, even when the final hour comes.The first race you run isn't your most important one. It's the final race that matters most.You won't want to miss this story of an Olympian who chose the better way.

The Final Race Details

TitleThe Final Race
Author
ReleaseApr 3rd, 2018
PublisherTyndale Momentum
ISBN-139781496419941
Rating
GenreHistory, Biography, War, World War II, Nonfiction, Literature, 20th Century

The Final Race Review

  • Linda Au
    January 1, 1970
    I can still remember the first time I watched the movie Chariots of Fire in the early 1980s. Belonging to a Reformed Presbyterian denomination steeped in Scottish heritage and sabbath-keeping, I was overcome with emotion at many points in the movie. And believe me, I’m no sports fan. The only time you’ll catch me running anywhere, I’m sure it’s because something in the kitchen is burning or I got up too late for church ... again. So what captured my interest in Eric Liddell’s story? His commitme I can still remember the first time I watched the movie Chariots of Fire in the early 1980s. Belonging to a Reformed Presbyterian denomination steeped in Scottish heritage and sabbath-keeping, I was overcome with emotion at many points in the movie. And believe me, I’m no sports fan. The only time you’ll catch me running anywhere, I’m sure it’s because something in the kitchen is burning or I got up too late for church ... again. So what captured my interest in Eric Liddell’s story? His commitment to his faith, even when it was inconvenient, gripped me throughout the movie. What I didn’t understand then, though, was that his commitment went well beyond his victories in the 1924 Olympics. Those closing words on the movie screen in Chariots of Fire shocked and saddened me when I first saw them: “Eric Liddell, missionary, died in occupied China at the end of Word War II. All of Scotland mourned.”Those words were an abrupt shift from the previous scene of Liddell, climbing into the back of a car, after getting off the train that brought the U.K. Olympians home, amid the cheering throngs. Those words were sobering. I felt as if the real story still needed to be told—that the 1924 Olympic Games were only a blip on the radar of Liddell’s life. There had to be a story there that was worth telling.Turns out I was right. And I’m so glad that Eric T. Eichinger and Eva Marie Everson have decided to tell the rest of Liddell’s story in The Final Race. When Eva told me about this project last summer, I immediately preordered it on Amazon and, in the ensuing months, checked for any updates on the release date. Mid-March couldn’t get here soon enough. And, I was not disappointed. In The Final Race, there is enough of Liddell’s early life and those Olympic victories to remind me why I still place Chariots of Fire high on my list of favorite movies. The book corrects a few of the movie’s details (which I appreciated for their own sake) and adds a few more. But it’s beyond that point in time where this book truly shines. The writing itself yanks you in and keeps you engaged, in ways that many nonfiction books never achieve. The writing is almost lyrical in spots, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I can easily get lost in novels for hours this way, but it’s a rare nonfiction book that pulls me inside so thoroughly. I’d been waiting for this story for a long, long time.Liddell’s story beyond those Olympic Games was not an easy one. Without blinking an eye, he gave up the fame that his amazing athletic skill (and unorthodox style) had brought him. He saw the advantage in speaking up for his faith for a time after the games, pairing up with D.P. Thomson, but he always felt missionary work in China calling him. I’m in awe of Liddell’s ability to walk away from everything he’d come to know in order to preach Christ and Him crucified in a dangerous land. And Eichinger and Everson do his amazing story justice as they tell it to us.I’ve waited more than thirty years to hear the rest of Eric Liddell’s story—the part of his story that gave God as much glory as Liddell’s running victories ever did. Now, with The Final Race, I learned what really became of Eric Liddell. I can’t wait to meet him in heaven and say, as I’m sure God Himself has been saying to him since 1945: Well done, thou good and faithful servant.
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  • Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    Eric Liddell won the 1924 400 meter race at the Olympics. He is well known for this, but is better known for the one he did not run. It was a Sunday, he was a son of a missionary.He became a missionary to China, married had three daughters. This is the story of that life. The life of a missionary in China. A family man who waited for his bride to finish nursing school. A man who sent his family home before they were captured and interned in a Japanese internment camp. The story of how he taught, Eric Liddell won the 1924 400 meter race at the Olympics. He is well known for this, but is better known for the one he did not run. It was a Sunday, he was a son of a missionary.He became a missionary to China, married had three daughters. This is the story of that life. The life of a missionary in China. A family man who waited for his bride to finish nursing school. A man who sent his family home before they were captured and interned in a Japanese internment camp. The story of how he taught, inspired and led the people in this camp.
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  • Christy Brunke
    January 1, 1970
    Chariots of Fire was just the beginning of the story of Eric Liddell, the Olympian who refused to run on a Sunday. In The Final Race, Eric T. Eichinger captures the climax and conclusion of Liddell’s epic life.But he didn’t do it alone. He partnered with bestselling novelist Eva Marie Everson to produce a book that is truly remarkable.I first met Eric Eichinger in 2000 when we were both serving in China. Every Sunday, expats like us met in Connie Mom’s home for prayer, worship, and Bible study. Chariots of Fire was just the beginning of the story of Eric Liddell, the Olympian who refused to run on a Sunday. In The Final Race, Eric T. Eichinger captures the climax and conclusion of Liddell’s epic life.But he didn’t do it alone. He partnered with bestselling novelist Eva Marie Everson to produce a book that is truly remarkable.I first met Eric Eichinger in 2000 when we were both serving in China. Every Sunday, expats like us met in Connie Mom’s home for prayer, worship, and Bible study. Lunch and lots of laughter were always thrown in too.Even then, he was a huge fan of the gold-medalist who shared his love for China, running, and, above all, the Lord. But Eichinger’s admiration grew when he traveled to Weihsien where Liddell had lived and died. “Somewhere on my return home from that pilgrimage, I knew I had to tell the story in a way that had not yet been done” (p. xiii).After that fateful trip, Eichinger began writing the screenplay sequel to Chariots of Fire. Then he teamed up with award-winning Everson to write the book version, The Final Race: The Incredible World War II Story of the Olympian Who Inspired Chariots of Fire. Now he’s working with Howie Klausner, the producer known for writing Space Cowboys, to adapt the screenplay.I can’t imagine anyone more perfectly primed to tell Liddell’s story than Eichinger. In his own words, he describes the passions and pursuits that characterize both their lives.“As an eight-year-old Christian possessing the same first name as that of the Flying Scotsman and sharing a zeal for running, I became an instant fanatic of Eric Liddell by watching Chariots of Fire.I thought the parallels ended there, yet at that time my race had barely begun. Amazingly enough, I also happened to run collegiately. I served in my church’s youth ministry, and I served as a missionary in China, where, like Eric, I met my wife. I went on to study theology and ultimately became a pastor and a writer” (pp. 259-260).Full of the ups and downs of following in the footsteps of Christ, The Final Race inspires you to surrender all. Thoroughly researched and excellently written, Eichinger’s passion for the subject sparkles on every page. This brilliant biography about one of our finest brothers in Christ deserves a prominent place on every Christian’s bookshelf.Published by Tyndale, The Final Race is available in hardcover, as an Audiobook, and as a Kindle book. I especially recommend it to people who enjoy history, biographies, and missionary memoirs.
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  • Crystal Storms
    January 1, 1970
    I watched the movie "Chariots of Fire" as a child, but didn't remember much of it. Inspired by quotes and stories from the movie, I watched it as an adult. Loved the movie and was challenged by the man with such deep convictions.The Final Race shares some of the details that "Chariots of Fire" missed. But more importantly, it shares what happened next in Eric Liddell's life. And that's the most inspiring of all.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent and inspiring story of Eric Liddell who for his observance of the Sabbath, withdrew from the 1924 Olympics 100-meter event. He ran in the 400 meter race which he had little experience in and won a gold medal. He later became a missionary to China, where when World War II broke out. The Japanese invaded China and captured Eric Liddell and Liddell was interned at a prison camp where he later died of a brain tumor.
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  • Virginia
    January 1, 1970
    This is the biography of Eric Liddell, an Olympic champion who was famous for refusing to run on Sunday. The book chronicles Eric's life from his childhood to his work as a missionary in China after his Olympic career. I was familiar with his athletic achievements, but not what happened after the Olympics. The book is well written with personal letters and photos included.
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  • Charlene
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful tribute to a man who always sought to run the race set before him with endurance and excellence.
  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent book on the life of Eric Liddell. So inspiring! This is one book I will pass around - I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • Nissa
    January 1, 1970
    This author never disappoints and this book clearly did not at all...the era of this book is of great interest to me and it delivered. Simply put, this book was incredible. This one is a must-read.
  • Amanda Geaney (Christian Shelf-Esteem)
    January 1, 1970
    In late June our family planned a nine-hour road trip to Gatlinburg, TN. We prepared for the long drive by packing the van with snacks, books, a couple kid-friendly DVDs, and a new audiobook. In the case of the latter, I selected The Final Race (Eric Eichinger with Eva Maria Everson) a biography of Eric Liddell—the Olympic gold medalist portrayed in the 1981 British historical drama Chariots of Fire.The book opens in 1909 at Blackheath boarding school, which Eric and his brother Rob, have been a In late June our family planned a nine-hour road trip to Gatlinburg, TN. We prepared for the long drive by packing the van with snacks, books, a couple kid-friendly DVDs, and a new audiobook. In the case of the latter, I selected The Final Race (Eric Eichinger with Eva Maria Everson) a biography of Eric Liddell—the Olympic gold medalist portrayed in the 1981 British historical drama Chariots of Fire.The book opens in 1909 at Blackheath boarding school, which Eric and his brother Rob, have been attending for a year. It’s September and Eric’s mother has come to inform the boys that their parents and younger siblings will be departing for China to resume their missionary duties. The first section focuses on how the boys cope with the long separation from their parents, grow in academic and athletic prowess, and culminates with Eric competing in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Prior to beginning the book, we had not heard of Eric Liddell. Curiosity getting the best of us, we’ve since viewed Chariots of Fire. This first third of the audiobook mirrors, the events portrayed on film, yet the one thing the film failed to capture was Eric’s humility and avoidance of the media. His personal conviction coupled with his missional family heritage, allowed Eric to deflect fame and pursue God’s calling to ministry wholeheartedly.In the second section of the book, Eric departs for Tientsin to teach at an all-boys school. It’s here where he is reunited with his family and meets his future wife Florence Mackenzie. During this time, readers gain a feel for the political, social, and economic climate in China. We also gained a more complete view of Eric’s loyal service to the London Missionary Society (LMS); his evolving theology, as well as his patient courtship and subsequent marriage to Florence. Due to the pacing and expansive scope of this portion of the audiobook (and in light of the listening age of our audience), we decided to spread our listening out over the month of July.The final portion of the book was the most fascinating to me. When Florence and the children depart occupied China (1941), Eric stays behind to do the Lord’s work. Then in 1943, foreign nationals are rounded up and taken to internment camps. The way Eric spends his days up until his death in 1945 should be an inspiration to all believers. In spite of his circumstance—batteling infestation, starvation, and the elements—Eric continually gives of himself for the benefit and comfort of others.It’s difficult to comment on Liddell’s theology because it was never really made clear. The authors do mention how Eric’s devotional book, The Disciplines of the Christian Life, was influenced by Scottish Congregationalist principles, his missionary experiences, The Oxford Group, and other theological books. He took a “unique spiritual path” that left him on a “figurative island, theologically distinct and somewhat separate from his Congregationalist brothers.” Besides these fragments and a denouncement of the doctrine of election earlier in the book, I can’t say with confidence what all he believed.When the audiobook concluded, I asked my children, “What did you learn about Eric Liddell?” Their response was simple… “He was humble.” As for me, I questioned at times whether the authors downplayed the man’s faults. However, they never left me questioning Eric’s Christian character or love for others. These are the main points I would have my children take-away from our listening time.Christian Shelf-Esteem received a book to facilitate this review. The views and opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255 Guidelines, concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.
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  • Rachel G
    January 1, 1970
    Last night I finished reading “The Final Race: The Incredible World War II Story of the Olympian Who Inspired Chariots of Fire” by Eric T. Eichinger. I knew who Eric Liddell was, of course, but I knew little of his life apart from the depiction in “Chariots of Fire”.Eric Liddell’s story is moving, profound, and certainly challenging. He reminded of me of Jim Elliott, in their zeal to serve Christ with every fiber of their being. I wasn’t aware that Eric’s parents were missionaries to China, or t Last night I finished reading “The Final Race: The Incredible World War II Story of the Olympian Who Inspired Chariots of Fire” by Eric T. Eichinger. I knew who Eric Liddell was, of course, but I knew little of his life apart from the depiction in “Chariots of Fire”.Eric Liddell’s story is moving, profound, and certainly challenging. He reminded of me of Jim Elliott, in their zeal to serve Christ with every fiber of their being. I wasn’t aware that Eric’s parents were missionaries to China, or that Eric chose to also serve as a missionary. Reading about his death in China while thousands of miles from his wife and children made me very sad. He and his wife, Florence, believed in their calling as missionaries so firmly that they were willing to endure months and years of separation if it meant Eric could keep serving in China. This wasn’t the best biography I’ve ever read. The writing style confused me a bit in places, but I did appreciate learning more about Eric Liddell’s life and ministry.
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