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Around The World On Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride Paperback – September 30, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 161 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel Press; Reprint edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806530669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806530666
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,011,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The lives of women in the 1890s were constrained by social mores, family obligations, and restrictive clothing. Annie Kopchovsky, immigrant, wife, and mother of three, seems to have had no qualms about doing the opposite of what the times dictated. So liberated was Annie that she cooked up a scheme to circle the globe on a bicycle—even though she had barely been on a bike—to earn fame and money. She abandoned her husband and children and made up a traveling identity, calling herself Annie Londonderry. Her journey began in New York, where she worked for a bicycle company, but in Chicago she negotiated a new contract with a different bicycle company and started over. She did succeed in circling the globe with a fair share of hype and flimflammery, but did she fulfill the terms of the contract? Well researched and written by a great-nephew of Annie's, this reclaimed true story illuminates family life, journalism, advertising, and recreation of that transitional era. As for Annie, she was a remarkable woman and well worth getting to know. Hoover, Danise --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

"Peter Zheutlin's thoroughly researched account will make you wish you'd been around to catch a glimpse of the extraordinary woman as she went wheeling by." --Bill Littlefield, National Public Radio's Only A Game

"Annie was a remarkable woman and well worth getting to know." --Booklist

"A wonderful telling of one of the most intriguing, offbeat, and until now, lost chapters in the history of cycling." --David Herlihy, author of Bicycle: The History

"A pleasant, affectionate portrait of a free spirit who pedaled her way out of Victorian constraints." --Kirkus Reviews

"[A] charming and informative book." --Cape Cod Times

"[An] incredible story...[a] fascinating book." --NextReads

"[A] stirring tale...not only a must read, but a must have." --Western Writers of America Roundup Magazine

"[A] remarkable saga." --The Winston-Salem (NC) Journal

"[R]ead[s]...like a novel." --The Columbia (SC) State

"[M]eticulously researched...illuminat[es] the feeling of a bygone era." --The Portsmouth (NH) Wire


More About the Author

Peter Zheutlin is a freelance journalist and author whose work has appeared regularly in The Boston Globe and The Christian Science Monitor. Mr. Zheutlin has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, AARP Magazine and numerous other publications in the U.S. and abroad. He is the author of Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride (Citadel Press, 2007) and the co-author, with Thomas B. Graboys, M.D., of Life in the Balance: A Physician's Memoir of Life, Love and Loss with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia (Union Square Press, 2008). He is also the co-author, with Robert P. Smith, of Riches Among the Ruins: Adventures in the Dark Corners of the Global Economy (Amacom, 2009). Peter's most recent book, co-authored with his wife, Judy Gelman, is The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars and Restaurants of Mad Men (SmartPop/BenBella Books,2011). Peter is a graduate of Amherst College and Boston College Law School and resides in Needham, Massachusetts with his wife Judy and his two sons.

Visit Peter's web sites at http://www.annielondonderry.com and http://www.unofficialmadmencookbook.com

Customer Reviews

This would make a blockbuster movie.
Robert Bornstein
The extraordinary true story of a life lived outside the boundaries of social convention; an entertaining tale of one woman's singular determination and adventure.
AMG
I'd recommend this book to anyone who wanted to cycle for a long distance.
Susan E. Stern

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Dalquist on November 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
I agree with the other reviewers that Annie Londonderry's story is one of a charming, brash, lying, self-promoting, scoundrel whose adventure meshed with, if not influenced, feminism, freedom of dress, and use of the bicycle by women. However, there is constant repetition of Annie as a charming, brash, lying, self-promoting --etc. etc. etc. (Get the picture?) Many times I said, "Enough already. I know that. Get on with the story." Relating an incident speaks for itself. There is no need to add after each that she was a charming, brash, etc. etc. Some of the information included in the epilogue, the afterword, and the appendix (is there a need for all three?)could have been included within the text, substituting for the redundancy, and explaining in greater depth Annie's personality and interaction with her family. The changing social customs of the period and the history of bicycling tied with Annie's antics would be a better read without the padding. I appreciated the bibliography and notes.
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Format: Hardcover
WHAT A FUN, INTERESTING AND EDUCATIONAL BOOK. It has Insight, Fashion, Women's Liberation, 19th Century Social History, Sports, Achievement, and so much more. The research Mr. Zheutlin did amazes me. On a personal note I research early cycling history and have done so for almost 40 years. His facts are accurate and he has found so much new material that it is hard to explain my amazement. If you are looking for a good read, interesting photographs, a different subject, amazing insight and a tour of the last part of the 19th Century, this is your book. You'll enjoy it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Janet Edwards on November 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This true story of Annie (Kopchovsky)Londonderry is an exhilarating and fascinating romp through history with a companion the reader can't help but admire for her gumption, cleverness, and determination.

Annie was the first woman to ride her bicycle around the world, possibly as part of a contest. It's just as likely, however, that she fabricated an excuse to travel because she felt claustrophobic, trapped within the societal constraints placed on women during the Victorian era. The author, Peter Zheutlin, writes Annie's story with tenderness (he's a descendent of Annie's, but I suspect he would do so regardless), yet also with appropriate skepticism and rich historical detail. (Read the endnotes!)

While following in the wake of her fierce independence and almost reckless energy, the reader also explores the impact Annie's journey had on the advancement of women's rights, as well as uncomfortable questions it posed about traditional roles - including her own role as wife and mother.

I'm recommending "Around the World on Two Wheels" for my book club selection next month. We'll have plenty of issues to discuss, and we'll get to do so in the company of one incredibly memorable character -- Annie Londonderry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jared Austin on January 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
I agree with the other reviewers that the story of Annie Londonderry's bike trip is both interesting and noteworthy--regardless of how much of it was actually fictitious. Obviously, for a woman in the late 19th century to go on a 15 month adventure around the world, be it by train, boat, bike or foot, remains an amazing feat, and deserves respect for the stereotypes it broke, and the countless young women it undoubtedly inspired. My only criticism of the book was that it was written in a somewhat choppy format, and didn't seem to flow very smoothly. This was probably due to the choppy, inconsistent nature of Annie's trip, and the accounts that went into piecing the story together. One of the most interesting parts of the book came in the Afterword, when the author explains his personal connection to Annie, and the research and efforts he had to undertake to tell her story. I wish he could've found a way to weave his own story into hers throughout the book. Finally, as an individual who biked across America in the late 1990s, I found her tales of hospitality from complete strangers along the road, a nice reminder of all the wonderful people we met on our own trip. Indeed, though a century has passed, the kindness of strangers toward adventurous souls remains happily unchanged.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. W. Stebbins on January 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
The background material is fascinating and in the hands of a novelist or more talented journalist, it might have made an entertaining book. As treated here, with a great deal of editing, it could have made a nice feature story. The approach is journalistic, a chronology of facts, mostly where Annie was when, what hotels she stayed in (by far thoroughly documented part of the account), who she had contact with, and a very few impressions of her recorded by contemporaries, and tedious repetitions of how plucky, brash, etc (maybe ten adjectives total) she must have been to have made the appearances and impressions she did and covered the ground she did. The best parts of the book, besides the bare facts themselves, were the author's account of his own relationship with her and his own story of discovery. At least it had some life and the people some dimension and reality. A fictionalized account might have given these qualities to the protagonist, but the journalist's preference for just the facts or perhaps a familial reverence which prohibited any liberties with them, leaves this a very flat and repetitious account with little life to it
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