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100 Years of Harley Davidson Hardcover – October 11, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With sexy full-page photo spreads and plenty of motorcycle lore, this commemorative volume celebrates the centennial of the legendary motor company. Davidson, vice president of Styling at Harley-Davidson and the grandson of one of the original founders, gives a decade-by-decade account of the company and the rise of biker culture. He describes the tinkerers perfecting the "motorized bicycle" in the basement of the Davidson family home in Milwaukee, Wisc., in 1903; the role of women riders-who were among the bike's earliest enthusiasts-and H.O.G. rallies and socials; and, of course, the postwar decades when rebel types "eager to have too much fun" captured the public imagination and forever changed the image of the motorcycle. The book includes two-page spreads of motorcycles for years during which Harley offered a new design, and Davidson shares his own passion for the machines and his memories of the family business throughout.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

This absolutely gorgeous oversize book documents the first century of Harley-Davidson motorcycles--or "motorized bicycles," as they were referred to in earlier days. The author's history of the company has a personal touch, since he is the grandson of one of the four founders. In chapters covering two decades at a time, he chronicles the business side of the company and the mechanical evolution of the product. And what a product it has been--each step in its development is illustrated here with bountiful photographs, many of which came from Davidson's personal collection and company archives. This book is a firm invitation to take to the open road, and all the publicity hype behind its publication, including an initial print run of 250,000 copies, will mean that readership interest will be high. A book to savor. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch (October 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821228196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821228197
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 1.3 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Karl Miller on October 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Harley-Davidson motorcycles hardly seem, at first thought, the appropriate topic for a glossy coffee-table type book. Having carefully cultivated a rebel image, Harley has for decades revelled in such perceptions, while customarily watching monied professionals drive off the lot on a Softtail. It's the ultimate in "irony advertising".
But the Harley story is also an American story, one of tales from the road across the USA. The company, celebrating its 100th year, is one of the few motoring ventures that maintains an image of quality vastly superior to Japanese knockoffs, primarily because of its storied history and presentation in culture for the last 100 years.
The story of the Harley Davidson corporate mentality, its financial devastation and recovery, and its appeal to an American society that loves its image takes up a good deal of space in this book, and makes for fascinating reading. In fact, the story alone would be worth a somewhat reduced price of admission (this book is expensive, after all), but the photography makes this a big keeper.
Double page after double page of legendary Harley models, dating back to the 1900's, capture the imagination, and the beauty of design in an incredible light. Photos from across the country call out for road trips. The photos capture much more than the HOG they portray - they are an invitation to hop on for a ride through American history.
This book is an excellent Christmas gift for anyone who owns, or always wanted to own their own Harley.
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Format: Hardcover
you'll find a good read. First, the pictures are sensational. They capture the simplicity which is at the heart of H-D's designs since inception. Also, this book explains many of the bike and engine nicknames, that I was always curious about, in an easily understandable way i.e. Shovelhead, Flathead etc....
It also covers most of basic history of the MoCo but does so in a corporate promotional way. The author glosses over the AMF years when the quality of their products were poor. It's a 1 or 2 sentence mention and I think deserved more specifics. This is the only major soft spot in the book in that, at times, it seems like one of their rah rah brochures. Look past that and you'll find a great coffee table book.
One question the book left me with is how much the author is genuinely involved in the design of bikes. He may just wish to support the other people involved (humbly). Otherwise, to read the book it seems his major talent is drawing logos (as it reads). The book wasn't solid on that.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is written from the heart and soul of the one and only Willie G. It has great pictures and great stories. No one can tell them like the people who experienced it from within.
An absolute seller, and when you want to collect some 100th Anniv. books this year: this one may not be missed on your shelve.
Get it now!
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Format: Hardcover
Perhaps Harley is going to publish an after-market book to correct all of the flaws in this book. Probably in chrome. I originally bought the book hoping to do some resarch on historic color schemes for a new bike, and in that quest I found the book to be quite valuable. Beyond that I found it to be curious that the book was a square format and all of Harley's bike are a horizontal format, so that every beauty shot of the bikes is printed across a gutter. You never get to see a bike in full. It's maddening. That being said, the history of the company and the culture is wonderful and inspiring. The shots from the archives are very well done and the tone of voice is very engaging. I just wanted to see the bikes. It's just like Harley's seats, good looking but kind of uncomfortable.
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I would recommend this one to any cycle enthusiast; however I did miss:
- More mechanical facts
- A more thorough coverage of all models (e.g. the 800 sporstster is barely mentioned)
Otherwise, a must-have.
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Format: Hardcover
William G. Davidson, or as he is affectionatly known, Willie G., gives an insiders view of the history and near demise of an American institution. I drank the Harley Kool-Aide years ago, but it was interesting to get another viewpoint on the Motor Company. The historical pictures are fantastic, especially the old hill climb photos. This is a must have for any Harley owner, and a gotta have for bikers in general. Be forwarned, you will also drink the Kool-Aide if you haven't already!

Ride Free, Willie G.!
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I can't say a bad thing about this Harley book. It is chock full of great photos and packed with tons of history info regarding Harley Davidson. This should be on the shelf of every Harley owner. It's the first history book that hasn't put me to sleep.
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I love this book, it's the best out there, and written from the perspective of someone who was there, and at this point, even the grandson is pushing up there in years. Glad to buy it, loved reading it. Feel like I got a better feel for the brand, the myth and the men behind the machine.
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