Qty:1
  • List Price: $27.00
  • Save: $2.70 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Item may not include associated media. Small mark / wear on spine. Missing disc.
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 this image

Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer Paperback – May 9, 1996


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$24.30
$12.91 $0.01
Best%20Books%20of%202014


Frequently Bought Together

Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer + Major Taylor: The Inspiring Story of a Black Cyclist and the Men Who Helped Him Achieve Worldwide Fame + Marshall "Major" Taylor: World Champion Bicyclist, 1899-1901 (Trailblazer Biographies)
Price for all three: $69.64

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (May 9, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801853036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801853036
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Long before Jackie Robinson crossed baseball's color line, before Jack Johnson spawned a line of Great White Hopes desperate to take the heavyweight boxing crown back from a black man, Major Taylor was setting records and fighting bigotry in one of the most popular athletic arenas of the turn of the century. The "Extraordinary" in the title of this steady biography is not just spinning wheels.

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

From Publishers Weekly

Ritchie (King of the Road, etc.) presents a moving biography of Marshall W. "Major" Taylor (1878-1932), a now nearly forgotten bicycle racer who was one of the world's premier athletes. Lionized in Europe and Australia, where he defeated reigning national champions, Taylor was the victim of racism at home in the U.S. He struggled throughout his 16-year racing career to earn a living in the sport. A quiet, deeply religious manhe lost income by refusing to race on Sundayshe was popular with the public but shunned by most of his white counterparts. Taylor's success on the racetrack, we're shown, was as much a tribute to his courage as to his enormous skill. After his athletic career ended his life was a series of personal and business setbacks; he died in a Chicago welfare hospital at age 53. Ritchie's sympathetic portrait should appeal to a broader audience than cycling enthusiastsit is the story of a genuine American hero. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
8
4 star
3
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 11 customer reviews
I want this book to be required reading for any sports fan.
Hahn
I found it difficult to put down, and upon finishing it I can say the book definitely merits another read.
Buzz Advert
I thought it was an incredible story of black man with a great determination.
Robert S Lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anne O'Neill (aoneill@alum.calberkeley.org) on April 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book was originally published by Bicycle Books in San Francisco. I would hope that it would still be available, even though 5 years ago hardback copies were selling at chain bookstores for as little as $4 a copy. The Ritchie book is written not just from the perspective of bicycling history (although it is well-researched from that point of view), but as an important social history. In addition, it reminds us of the history of the development of transportation and how bicycles were eventually pushed out of the public vision of having right-of-way to being relegated to the closed track of the velodrome so they wouldn't get in the way of the growing automobile culture. Major Taylor's career is important in the history of racism and attempted and often effective exclusion of Blacks not just from racing opportunities, but from the subsequent business opportunities that followed on the heels of the age of the turn-of-the-century racers. The largest reason that Major Taylor died a pauper was because he was not allowed to participate on an equal level with White businessmen in the developing automobile industry, according to Ritchie's research. Turn of the century bicycle racers, as Ritchie points out, were instrumental in contributing to the design of the shock system and the use of pneumatic tires, among other features, of the emerging American automobile. They also were some of the large investors in the industry upon their retirement from active racing status. Taylor wanted to participate in the design process and applied to a university for formal education in engineering, but was denied access, despite his hard-won efforts, previous inventions in bicycle design and testing, and celebrity status.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By GGW on September 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
As Ritchie points out himself, it is surprising that it took a white englishman to compile such a comprehensive history of an American black man who was one of, if not the first black world champion in any sport and one of cycling's orginal superstars.

While the book makes for a good short history of the early years of cycling as a sport and how it has evolved, Taylor's transcends the sport of cycling and provides a rich glimpse into early 20th century racial issues, the development of transportation in the US, the twighlight of the Guilded Age and the onset of the Great Depression. Ritchie weaves all of these together in a compelling manner.

In hindsight, while the likes of Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson are often credited with being the original trailblazers for black athletes, they owe much to the brave steps taken by the now sadly little remembered Major Taylor. This book is long overdue.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
I found this story of a black man in this early 1900 era extremely fascinating. His beliefs in fair play, extrodinary dedication to his faith and his hobby made him a role model for any and all to follow. his persistance in perfecting his beloved sport despite all of the negativity of this era, to me was unbelieveable.

I read few books cover to cover but I have had the pleasure of reading this one 4 times. Ritchie has this book so well documented that anyone reading it would have no problem of becoming totally engrossed in it. A well done from me.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a very enjoyable book. Very well researched and documented (almost to a fault). Anyone who is serious about the history of bicycle racing in the USA must add this book to their library. After reading this book one must wonder how great Major Taylor would have been if the playing field was equal. Highly Recommended!!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kent Price on November 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing story of champion bicycle racer in the 1890's and early 20th century, and gives insight into early bicycle racing in America and France.

The chapter titles outline the story: (1) Prologue; (2) early guidance and inspiration; (3) bicycle boom and Jim Crow; (4) precocious teenager, colored champion of America; (5) rising star; (6) new horizons, new opposition; (7) the fastest bicycle rider in the world; (8) champion of America at last; (9) superstar; (10) world traveler and international celebrity; (11) comeback and decline; (12) difficult adjustments; (13) autobiography and illness (14) Chicago tragedy.

Especially notable are the many photographs and extensive footnotes at the end. I recommend this book as a historical record of early bicycle racing and life with Jim Crow in America.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mulgabill on September 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
I thought this book gave a great insight into the life of a great champion from days gone by. The Major would have been a champion in any era.
The author has gone to great lengths to find the true story.
For anyone interested in the history of cycling, a must read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again