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The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life (Discovering America) Hardcover – April 5, 2016

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[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)

"Guroff richly details the adoption, development, and significantcultural influence of the bicycle.... [Her] fluid and lively writingimparts knowledge without sounding dry or pretentious." --(
Library Journal 2016-02-15)
"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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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ University of Texas Press (April 5, 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 295 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0292743629
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0292743625
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.19 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 35 ratings

About the author

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Margaret Guroff is an American magazine editor and writer who teaches nonfiction writing courses at The Johns Hopkins University. She is also the editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick, an online annotation of Herman Melville's classic novel. Her cultural history book, The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life, was published in 2016 by the University of Texas Press. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
35 global ratings

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David Flather
5.0 out of 5 stars Good history read.
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on December 25, 2016
Gilles Janson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on October 6, 2016