At the turn of the 20th century, hundreds of handsome, lightning-fast racers won the hearts and minds of a bicycling-crazed public. Scientists studied them, newspapers glorified them, and millions of dollars in purse money was awarded to them. Major Taylor aimed to be the fastest of them all. A prominent black man at a time when such a thing was deemed scandalous, his mounting victories, high moral virtue, and bulletlike riding style made him a target for ridicule from the press and sabotage by the white riders who shared the track with him.
Taylor’s most formidable and ruthless opponent—a man nicknamed the “Human Engine”—was Floyd McFarland. One man was white, one black; one from a storied Virginia family, the other descended from Kentucky slaves; one celebrated as a hero, one trying to secure his spot in a sport he dominated. The only thing they had in common was the desire to be named the fastest man alive. Their rivalry riveted first America, and then the world. Finally, in 1904, both men headed to Australia for a much-anticipated title match to decide, beyond dispute, who would claim the coveted title.
Major is the gripping story of a superstar nobody saw coming—a classic underdog, aided by an unlikely crew: a disgraced fight promoter, a broken ex-racer, and a poor upstate girl from New York who wanted to be a queen. It is also the account of a fierce rivalry that would become an archetypal tale of white versus black in the 20th century. Most of all, it is the tale of our nation’s first black sports celebrity—a man who transcended the handicaps of race at the turn of the century to reach the stratosphere of fame.
From the Hardcover edition.
Share your thoughts on the Major Social Science eBook with others!
|Title of eBook: Major|
|Release Date: 02-26-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Devices||Samsung Tablet, Apple Ipad & Iphone, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo eReader, Aluratek Libre, Iliad, Nokia, Blackberry, Hanlin|
|Note||ePub, short for electronic publication is one of our favorites and should be yours for a couple of reasons. ePub offers reflowable text giving you flexibility to manipulate how the content is presented. Moreover, lots of cool features are now being developed for the reader like advanced video and audio. ePub is now an industry standard, so all of the "non-propreitary" hardware manufacturers are now supporting it.|
CITY OF LONDON
It glides along as though it were alive, and with
a smooth grace . . . everlasting and beautiful to behold.
Magazine on the early pedal-powered bicycle
The South was still burning. Thousands of Confederate POWs remained in Union custody, having refused allegiance to their Yankee victors, and only a partial accounting of the 623,000 war dead had been made. It was a mere eight weeks after Appomattox and the end of the Civil War, but people were already on the move. The promise of America's large northern industrial cities, where work could be had and lives remade, triggered a massive response home and abroad.
The swell of humanity included a twenty-two-year-old French mechanic whose July transatlantic passage was notable because of what he steadfastly towed in a large clanging steamer trunk. Within were the unassembled parts of the first modern-era bicycle to land upon U.S. shores. Pierre Lallement, a baby-faced man with short legs and a penguin's stride, was the first of what would be a very long line of dreamers, schemers, and spectacular failures who would see in the beautiful symmetry of moving bicycle parts a new beginning. His wrought-iron frame didn't look like much, but he won a patent in 1866 and, more incredible still, he rode the thing, nobly taking to the green at New Haven, Connecticut, as a few rubbernecking strollers looked on.
Lallement's bicycle was, in truth, a giant advance that somehow eluded the best and brightest minds for generations, with "two wooden wheels, with iron tires, of nearly equal size, one before t