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Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 1, 2007
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The lives of women in the 1890s were constrained by social mores, family obligations, and restrictive clothing. Annie Kopchovsky, immigrant, wife, and mother of three, seems to have had no qualms about doing the opposite of what the times dictated. So liberated was Annie that she cooked up a scheme to circle the globe on a bicycleeven though she had barely been on a biketo earn fame and money. She abandoned her husband and children and made up a traveling identity, calling herself Annie Londonderry. Her journey began in New York, where she worked for a bicycle company, but in Chicago she negotiated a new contract with a different bicycle company and started over. She did succeed in circling the globe with a fair share of hype and flimflammery, but did she fulfill the terms of the contract? Well researched and written by a great-nephew of Annie's, this reclaimed true story illuminates family life, journalism, advertising, and recreation of that transitional era. As for Annie, she was a remarkable woman and well worth getting to know. Hoover, Danise
From the Publisher
"Peter Zheutlin's thoroughly researched account will make you wish you'd been around to catch a glimpse of the extraordinary woman as she went wheeling by." --Bill Littlefield, National Public Radio's Only A Game
"Annie was a remarkable woman and well worth getting to know." --Booklist
"A wonderful telling of one of the most intriguing, offbeat, and until now, lost chapters in the history of cycling." --David Herlihy, author of Bicycle: The History
"A pleasant, affectionate portrait of a free spirit who pedaled her way out of Victorian constraints." --Kirkus Reviews
"[A] charming and informative book." --Cape Cod Times
"[An] incredible story...[a] fascinating book." --NextReads
"[A] stirring tale...not only a must read, but a must have." --Western Writers of America Roundup Magazine
"[A] remarkable saga." --The Winston-Salem (NC) Journal
"[R]ead[s]...like a novel." --The Columbia (SC) State
"[M]eticulously researched...illuminat[es] the feeling of a bygone era." --The Portsmouth (NH) Wire --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Annie was the first woman to ride her bicycle around the world, possibly as part of a contest. It's just as likely, however, that she fabricated an excuse to travel because she felt claustrophobic, trapped within the societal constraints placed on women during the Victorian era. The author, Peter Zheutlin, writes Annie's story with tenderness (he's a descendent of Annie's, but I suspect he would do so regardless), yet also with appropriate skepticism and rich historical detail. (Read the endnotes!)
While following in the wake of her fierce independence and almost reckless energy, the reader also explores the impact Annie's journey had on the advancement of women's rights, as well as uncomfortable questions it posed about traditional roles - including her own role as wife and mother.
I'm recommending "Around the World on Two Wheels" for my book club selection next month. We'll have plenty of issues to discuss, and we'll get to do so in the company of one incredibly memorable character -- Annie Londonderry.