Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $19.95
  • Save: $4.25 (21%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Bunion Derby: The 1928 Fo... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Acceptable | Details
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: All orders ship within 24 Hours (M-F)!!! Mass listed as acceptable..book conditions do vary. May not contain Access codes, Cd etc...May have stickers/tape on books.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America Hardcover – October 15, 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$10.92 $2.99

The Black Presidency by Michael Eric Dyson
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
$15.70 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America
  • +
  • The 1929 Bunion Derby: Johnny Salo and the Great Footrace across America (Sports and Entertainment)
Total price: $36.81
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews


"In a wild grab for glory, a cast of nobodies saw hope in the dust: blacks who escaped the poverty and terror of the Old South; first-generation immigrants with their mother tongue thick on their lips; Midwest farm boys with leather-brown tans. These men were the 'shadow runners,' men without fame, wealth, or sponsors, who came to Los Angeles to face the world's greatest runners and race walkers. This was a formidable field of past Olympic champions and professional racers that should have discouraged sane men from thinking they could win a transcontinental race to New York. Yet they came, flouting the odds. Charley Pyle's offer of free food and lodging to anyone who would take up the challenge opened the race to men of limited means. For some, it was a cry from the psyche of no-longer-young men, seeking a last grasp at greatness or a summons to do the impossible. This pulled men on the wrong side of thirty from blue-collar jobs and families." - from the Preface"

From the Inside Flap

The story of Charley Pyle's 3,400-mile cross country race and extravaganza and the men who endured 84 days of mountains, deserts, mud, and sandstorms to compete for a $25,000 grand prize.

Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press; First Edition edition (October 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826343015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826343017
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #911,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've been in love with the running for over forty years. The process of running on my own two feet has a primal, and, at times, spiritual appeal to me. I've competed in hundreds of races from ultra-marathons to five-kilometer runs. I've experienced the proverbial runner's high, but nothing I've done comes close to the Herculean effort required by the men who ran in two long forgotten footraces across America, nicknamed the bunion derbies. These races took place in the twilight of the 1920's when the nation was a buzz with Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic and all records seemed there to be broken.

For the past fourteen years, I've studied and written about these epic footraces. My first book about the 1928 race--Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America--was published in 2007. My second about the 1929 race--The 1929 Bunion Derby: Johnny Salo and the Great Footrace across America--was published this spring. The runners who competed in these trans-America races pushed themselves to the point of physical and mental collapse. Those that persevered to run the 3,500-mile distance across America are a constant reminder to me of the untapped sources of human potential that rest within each of us.

In my latest book, forty-three veterans from the first bunion derby return for a second try at trans-America racing. On March 31, 1929, these veterans joined thirty-four rookies in New York City for the start of the second and last Bunion Derby. Racing over mountains, and across deserts and prairies, the "bunioneers" pushed their bodies to the breaking point. The men averaged forty-six, gut-busting miles a day during seventy-eight days of non-stop racing that took them from New York City to Los Angeles in the waning months of the Roaring Twenties, just months before the Wall Street crash started the nation on its descent into the Great Depression.

The forty-three veterans dominated the race, after having learned hard-won lessons of pace, diet, and training during the first race. Among this group, two brilliant runners, Johnny Salo of Passaic, New Jersey and Pete Gavuzzi of England, emerged to battle for the $25,000 first prize along the mostly unpaved roads of 1929 America, with each man pushing the other to go faster as the lead switched back and forth between them. Chasing them relentlessly, was Eddie "the Sheik" Gardner of Seattle, an African American who showed remarkable courage as he faced down the endemic racism he encountered on a daily basis.

To pay the prize money, race Director Charley Pyle cobbled together a traveling vaudeville company, complete with dancing debutantes, an all-girl band wearing pilots' outfits, and blackface comedians, all housed under the massive show tent that Charley hoped would pack in audiences. This is the story of, arguably, the greatest long distance footrace of all time.


Visit me on the web at http://www.Charleskastner.com and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/charlesbkastnerauthor.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 9 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What began as a quick browse for me became an adventure. I had expected a book which might appeal to distance runners only (a punishment to which I will never aspire). I found myself rooting for a number of the participants and marveling at their progress. There was little Olli Wanttinen at 4 feet nine inches; how many more steps must he have had to take to match the taller runners' strides. Fifteen-year-old T. Joseph Cotton, eldest of seven siblings, wanted the prize money to help feed his family. Then there was experienced competitor, Charles Hart, who, at age63, was two and three times the ages of most of the racers.

But this is more than just a book about running. Mr. Kastner has done a laudable job of portraying a fascinating, little known facet of American history. It is a literate account of one of the greatest publicity stunts from an age of outrageous stunts - of marathon dancing, goldfish swallowing, and flagpole sitting. There is all the pathos of an America rife with pockets of extreme poverty and hardship, class and color discrimination, optimism and perseverance.

The book is meticulously researched and generously illustrated with archival photographs. Several appendices tantalize with glimpses of future ultra races (post 1928). I hope another book will soon be forthcoming.
Comment 4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
The 1920's are famous for grandiose stunts and promotions. One of the most arduous was the great bunion derby of 1928. Brainchild of promoter Charles C. Pyle, this was a foot race from California to New York, spotlighting the newly laid Route 66. This grueling race attracted trained athletes from across the United States and beyond. But most participants were amateurs, ill-suited to the trial before them. They came for the glory, or the thrill, or perhaps the $25,000 prize. Of the 199 starters an ama zing 55 men completed the race.

Kastner's account follows African American, Ed Gardner, through the torturous ordeal. This is history that reads like a novel - absorbing and well-paced. Kastner brings into sharp focus the motivation, the perseverance, the will, the grit that made Gardner a hero of his day.
Comment 4 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Bruce Hilpert on December 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
How quickly we forget! I have been a lifelong student of American history and a casual runner for more than 20 years, yet, I had never heard of the 1928 "International Trans-Continental Foot Race," an epic, non-stop, 84-day road race covering 3400 miles from Los Angeles to New York City. By today's "ultra-marathon" standards, such a feat of endurance is inconceivable.

In his delightful book, "Bunion Derby," Charles Kastner has brought this remarkable race and its incredible participants back to life, helping to fulfill race referee Arthur Duffy's prediction that "...some day the public will come to realize that this cross country foot race is one of the greatest athletic achievements of the age."

Organized by sports promoter C.C. Pyle and his partner, football hero "Red" Grange, the race attracted 199 participants who competed for a First Prize of $25,000, a small fortune at the time. Each morning, the runners rolled off their metal cots, ran a race leg of 30-75 miles, scrounged for dinner, fell exhausted onto their cots, and woke up to do the whole thing over. Along the way, they had to overcome freezing temperatures, sprained ankles, bad food, assaults by hit-and-run drivers, and threats of violence against the African-American runners.

Could anyone today even imagine running from Los Angeles through the Mojave Desert, crossing the mountains of northern Arizona, and reaching the New Mexico border in twenty days? Throw in freezing rains, a 7400' elevation gain, and howling head winds and the feat becomes super-human.

Remarkably, 55 of the original 199 starters finished the race, even though many were simply amateur runners or not even runners at all. At least, not when they started.
Read more ›
Comment 1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully written and well-researched story, and to that extent it is a good book. Chuck and Mary Kastner are friends, and frequent visitors to our Bed & Breakfast, so I won't say any more about the book than "Buy it" you won't be disappointed!

The story on the other hand belongs not only to the book, but to American History. The racers formed a cross-section of American society, with some fascinating foreigners thrown in for good measure. The trials and tribulations of all the runners amazed me and their sheer persistence could not help but become fodder for the story. But more than that the story is of ordinary people whose characters and personalities were forever changed by their phenomenal efforts. When the leaders of the race cross into New York State, there is a gesture by the leading racer which brought tears to my eyes. I leave it to you to buy the book and read the story, and admire these Bunioneers.
Comment 3 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Charles Kastner's Bunion Derby tells the saga of 199 men who raced across the country in 1928. It's an incredible tale, with many interesting threads - watching the race unfold; hearing of the incredible strength, courage and athletic skills of the competitors; and following the grandious dreams but ultimate ineptitude of the the race's "director general", C.C. Pyle. The story unfolds as a factual, chronological accounting of the race. A bonus is that you get a strong sense of cultural and popular America in the pre-depression 1920's, the sort of thing you don't get in history class. The writing throughout is crisp and entertaining, with just the right amount of repetition to be able to keep the scores of characters in the book distinguishable.

Why a scholarly work? Kastner had clearly done years of painstaking research to cobble together this story from hundreds and hundreds of sources. There are 36 pages of references accompanying the book citing the source for all information contained within the narrative. Kastner lists 75 newspapers in the references from which he combed through archives to find nuggets to enrich the story. Kastner has provided a first rate book and first rate service in preserving this important event in running and American history.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America
This item: Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America
Price: $15.70
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: kastner war