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Major: A Black Athlete, a White Era, and the…

Major: A Black Athlete, a White Era, and the Fight to Be the World's…

by Todd Balf

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I'm not usually a fan of history or biographies, but I found the story of Marshall "Major" Taylor fascinating. From the first chapter, the author paints a picture of cycling at right around 1900 that sets the story up in a fascinating light. At that point there were no real spectator sports, no Hollywood, even Broadway hadn't gotten big yet. Cyclist were the biggest celebrities in the world.
Major Taylor, at a time when slavery had only recently been abolished and segregation was a reality all over the world, managed to make a way for himself to become the World's Fastest Human Being.
Regardless of if your into cycling or not, you'll really enjoy this book. And it just might make you want to dust off your bike and cruise the neighborhood. ( )
  ariahfine | Feb 6, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307236595, Paperback)

The story of a man who transcended the handicaps of race to become America’s first African American mega sports celebrity

At the turn of the 20th century, hundreds of lightning-fast racers won the hearts and minds of a bicycling-crazed public. Scientists studied them, newspapers glorified them, and millions of dollars in purse money were awarded to them. Major Taylor aimed to be the fastest of them all.

Taylor’s most formidable and ruthless opponent-a man nicknamed the "Human Engine" was Floyd McFarland. One man was white, one black; one from a storied Virginia family, the other descended from Kentucky slaves; one celebrated as a hero, one trying to secure his spot in a sport he dominated. The only thing they had in common was the desire to be named the fastest man alive. Finally, in 1904, both men headed to Australia for a much-­anticipated title match to decide who would claim the coveted title.

Major is the story of a superstar nobody saw coming, the account of a fierce rivalry that would become an archetypal tale of white versus black in the 20th century, and, most of all, the tale of our nation’s first black sports celebrity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A portrait of turn-of-the-twentieth-century cyclist Major Taylor, the first great African-American sports celebrity, describes his remarkable sports career, his virtuous and devout lifestyle, and his competition with such white rivals as Floyd McFarland.… (more)

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