Both a world and national champion, Taylor bicycled to glory on three continents. His name on the marquee meant added revenue and attendance. In Europe, he was a superstar, and treated like one. Yet he was mocked by fellow riders in America, shunned by his sport's establishment, and died forgotten and penniless in Chicago in 1932. Part of why Taylor should be remembered is the way he reacted to the hatred he had to ride against: "I always played the game fairly and tried my hardest," he wrote in his own autobiography, which Ritchie thoroughly mines, "although I was not always given a square deal or anything like it ... I only ask from them the same kind of treatment which I give and am willing to continue to give."
Ritchie does yeoman's service in reviving Taylor's story and giving it context with a carefully studied examination of what life was like for black Americans 100 years ago. More importantly, he reaches into the muck of the past and returns with a clear picture of an endangered species: the thoroughly decent human being. --Jeff Silverman
I thought it was an incredible story of black man with a great determination. To do what he did back in the late 18th century was just unbelievable. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert S Lee
made an unusual gift for a bike rider while he recovered from surgery & couldn't ride. little known but important story.Published 11 months ago by helen hastings
I want this book to be required reading for any sports fan. It exposes the enormous pressure Major Taylor endured and demonstrates why his was one of the USA's greatest athletes. Read morePublished on February 7, 2012 by Hahn
Major Taylor's story deserves telling and re-telling. This is the book to do just that. I've read several biographies of Taylor and I feel that this one is the best. Read morePublished on May 16, 2010 by Scott Hicks