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9 Reviews
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched
This was painful to read, not because of any shortcoming of the book, but because I already knew the outcome. I had read (and recently re-read) Bert Hopwood's bookWhatever Happened to the British Motorcycle Industry? and both books together give a fascinating view of the decline of a once world-dominating industry. "Shooting Star" seemed to be a more dispassionate and...
Published on September 18, 2009 by George Smith

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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars British motorcycle industry
I wrote the following review for New Zealand magazine KIWI RIDER

Book review

SHOOTING STAR
The rise and fall of the British motorcycle industry

The author of this book, unlike previous commentators on the British motorcycle industry, is an American. This should signal a fresh perspective on just what went wrong. Abe Aamidor is a...
Published on September 23, 2009 by Rhys Jones


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched, September 18, 2009
This review is from: Shooting Star: The Rise & Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry (Hardcover)
This was painful to read, not because of any shortcoming of the book, but because I already knew the outcome. I had read (and recently re-read) Bert Hopwood's bookWhatever Happened to the British Motorcycle Industry? and both books together give a fascinating view of the decline of a once world-dominating industry. "Shooting Star" seemed to be a more dispassionate and unbiased account, while Hopwood's tome was from the inside out, and (probably)somewhat self-serving. Today's headlines regarding the American auto industry's troubles invite frequent comparison with the not-too-distant goings-on at Small Heath and Meriden and give the subject matter a freshness probably unanticipated by the author. I wish he'd been able to spend a little more time on some of the other players such as Vincent and Royal Enfield. I'd give it 5 stars, but he left me wanting even more!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be in every English MC fan's library, December 18, 2010
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This review is from: Shooting Star: The Rise & Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry (Hardcover)
A fine book about the growth of the English motorcycle industry, its rise to world fame, the inability of the hide-bound industry to accept market changes and its ultimate death. Hum... Sounds a lot like the US auto industry!

Written by a Canadian with just a bit of obvious sympathetic excuses for the industry's faltering leadership and disdain for the rising Japanese, this book will be able to hold its own in the long run.

If you consider yourself a fan, maven or enthusiast of Brit bikes, buy the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shooting Star, January 7, 2010
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John Cotgreave (Brisbane, Australia.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shooting Star: The Rise & Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry (Hardcover)
This is an excellent book on the sad demise of the British motorcycle industry. Well written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great history of British Motorcycle Manufacturing, January 7, 2013
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Amazon Customer (santa Barbara, CA) - See all my reviews
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Learning who and how the British motorcycle companies evolved and specific models developed was interesting. I own a modern day Triumph and can remember the older, classic brands and models.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great submit matter, November 19, 2013
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Tom (Redwood City, CA, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shooting Star: The Rise & Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry (Hardcover)
Dealing with history is hard to do. Very hard to make it interesting if you already know the outcome. It was good, but a bit lifeless
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5.0 out of 5 stars nice nostalgia, April 30, 2013
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This review is from: Shooting Star: The Rise & Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry (Hardcover)
an easy read that ends too soon. it helps if you knew cycling in the 60s, so it can be a trip down memory lane.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, informative, September 18, 2011
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This review is from: Shooting Star: The Rise & Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry (Hardcover)
Enjoyable read for those of us who love British motorcycles. The author provides key insights in to the economic factors and management decisions that led to the demise of a once glorious industry. Highly recommended.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars British motorcycle industry, September 23, 2009
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This review is from: Shooting Star: The Rise & Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry (Hardcover)
I wrote the following review for New Zealand magazine KIWI RIDER

Book review

SHOOTING STAR
The rise and fall of the British motorcycle industry

The author of this book, unlike previous commentators on the British motorcycle industry, is an American. This should signal a fresh perspective on just what went wrong. Abe Aamidor is a journalist, author, University lecturer, and motorcycle enthusiast. He states that motorcycles were as important to England's national identity as the wine industry is to French national identity. In the years immediately following World War Two the British motorcycle industry was the third largest source of foreign exchange in the United Kingdom, after motor cars and Scotch Whisky. By 1974, the British brands held only 1% of the all-important American market and just 3% of the home market.

So what went wrong? What caused the collapse, in thirty years, of an industry that had led the world since the invention of the motorcycle? There is no simply answer. Blame has been laid at the feet of management, the workers, and the product. It seems the answer is a combination of all these components. But there is another factor, the passage of history, and the author covers this well. Most of the major British motorcycle companies began in the early years of the 20th century. In 1914 the First World War began. This was healthy for companies that had contracts to provide bikes to the military, but the war did little to foster motorcycles for leisure and transport amongst the civilian population.

In 1918, when the war finished, there followed ten years of recovery, and in 1929 the great depression shattered the world's economy. Some say the depression began to ease in the mid-30s, others maintain it lasted until the beginning of the Second Word War in 1939. At the end of this war the British economy was so stretched that most of the output consisted of pre-war models. The 1950s offered a fifteen year run to the mid-60s when the Japanese arrived. And that is about the longest uninterrupted run the British motorcycle industry has ever had. It has been a history scarred by war, economic crisis, and industrial upheaval. The Japanese have already enjoyed forty years of uninterrupted economic stability. A luxury the British never enjoyed.

One thing seems certain. It all had little to do with the bikes. How valuable today is a BSA Gold Star, a Vincent Black Lightening, or a Velocette Thruxton?
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shot Down Star, May 22, 2010
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This review is from: Shooting Star: The Rise & Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry (Hardcover)
If you want to hear about the in-fighting and power struggles, then you will love this tome. If you want to see pictures and details about the cycles, you will be terribly disappointed. Read it in one day and gave it away. Waste of money and time. And this from a person who has owned just about every model of British bike made for 40 years.
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Shooting Star: The Rise & Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry
Shooting Star: The Rise & Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry by Abraham Aamidor (Hardcover - September 1, 2009)
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