Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
Great but little known story brought to light
on March 13, 2004
In 1897 a contingent of twenty black soldiers, a white West Point officer, a military surgeon and a young newspaper reporter rode bicycles from Fort Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri, following the Burlington Northern railroad. The groups' leader, Lt. Moss, was trying to prove to the army that bicycles could be a valuable asset. I first became acquainted with this little known gem of history through the children's magazine Highlights in the early 90s. I have been fascinated with it ever since. George Niels Sorenson's Iron Riders presents this story and the broader context of those "Buffalo Soldiers-on-wheels". He tells us of the practice trip the bicycle corp made to Yellowstone Park before their epic St. Louis run and the lives of the riders after their trip. This 8 x 10 book has many primary source pictures, documents and maps which illuminate the text. It's the only informational book I know of devoted to a story which deserves a wider audience. If you are a middle school history teacher, like me, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. It would make a fantastic unit. But I agree with the other reviewer: anybody who likes black history, social history, military history, bicycle touring, the west and/or unsung heroes will find a lot to enjoy in this book. And, if you like this book you'll want to check out the PBS video The Bicycle Corps: America's Black Army on Wheels and the children's book Black Wheels.