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The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life (Discovering America) Hardcover – April 5, 2016
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"[A] fascinating volume....Like them or loathe them, cyclists are reprising their initial role as adapters of disruptive technology. And Margaret Guroff's book provides a colorful and helpful map of where we've been, and where we all might go from here." --(Wall Street Journal (2016-04-08)
"Margaret Guroff has written an amazing book. ... [Y]ou will learn moreabout the impact that bicycles have had on society, especially Americansociety, than you ever imagined." --(The Wheelmen, Winter 2016)
"A bright, enthusiastic cultural history." --(Kirkus 2016-02-01)
"[P]edals through two centuries of engineering, transportation, recreation, and athletics to trace a changing world and its evolving modes of mobility. From local governments paving town streets to military strategists experimenting with combat usages, the bicycle has had a sprawling cultural influence throughout its history, some of which has been lost to generations." --(Wall Street Journal 2016-04-08 2016-06-27)
[A] dazzling cultural history of the bicycle . . . Guroff peppers these historical accounts with lively quotes from primary documents and herown sharp, modern insight. As she makes plain, it's not just cyclistswho have bicycles to thank for the way they get around--it's everybody.And that makes The Mechanical Horse worth a read for the most avowed drivers, too." --(CityLab 2016-04-01)
"A provocative, in-depth analysis of the two-wheeler's shifting influenceon American society. Highly recommended. --(David Herlihy, author of Bicycle: The History)
Margaret Guroff has broken new ground with this masterful account ofthe bicycle revolution set in the broad context of American social andcultural history. The Mechanical Horse is that rarest ofbooks, a work of solid scholarship and deep analysis so readable thatyou can't put it down." --(Tom Crouch, author of The Bishop's Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright)
"Guroff is a confident social historian who allows her eye for the colorful detail to lead the way.... Good stories abound in [this] account." --(The Weekly Standard 2016-08-01)
"[T]this book [is] as fun as a spin around the block on a warm summer evening. Reading it is as easy as, well, riding a bike. And if that was (or is!) one of your favorite things to do, then 'The Mechanical Horse' is a winner." --(Green Living, July 2016)
About the Author
Margaret Guroff is a magazine editor. She is also the editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick, an online annotation of Herman Melville's classic novel. She teaches writing at the Johns Hopkins University.
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in the 1890's, the one that most strained credulity was the "bicycle face".
Characterized by wide, wild eyes; a grim set of the mouth;
and a migration of facial features toward the center, the disorder was said
to result from the stress of incessant balancing.
A German philosopher claimed that the condition drained "Every vestige of intelligence"
from the sufferer's appearance and rendered children unrecognizable
to their own mothers. The bicycle face hung on, too, warned a journalist:
"Once fixed upon the countenance, it can never be removed."
-- Adapted from The Mechanical Horse: How The Bicycle Reshaped American Life
by Margaret Guroff.