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    Race and racism in American cycling history and culture

    In his new book Black Cyclists: The Race for Inclusion (University of Illinois Press), Robert J. Turpin sheds light on the contributions of Black cyclists from the sport’s early days through the cementing of Jim Crow laws during the Progressive Era. We're pleased to publish this review of Turpin’s book by historian Duncan R. Jamieson, leading cycling scholar as well as having a research focus on the role of race and racism in American society. Our reviewer is highly appreciative of Turpin’s effort, though not as optimistic about the future for Blacks in American cycling.

    Around the world in 124 days – on two wheels

    In 2018, amateur cyclist Jenny Graham became the fastest woman to cycle around the world. She tells her story in Coffee First, Then the World: One Woman's Record-Breaking Pedal Around the Planet (Bloomsbury Sport), which we asked history professor and avid cyclist Duncan R. Jamieson – though avid might be understating it – to read. Not in it for the race himself, he can still see the psychology behind Graham’s quest, and his brilliant account of her fascinating book bears witness to his expertise in the history and sociology of cycling.

    “This is a book that should be read by all”

    In Only a Black Athlete Can Save Us Now (University of Minnesota Press), Grant Farred uses sport as a point of departure to argue that the dystopic crisis of our current moment offers a singular opportunity to reimagine how we live in the world. Duncan R. Jamieson was quite taken by Jarred's analysis and arguments, and concludes that his book should be read by all, but especially by those who see nothing wrong with the racism that has and continues to rear its ugly head.

    Tales of Alaskan psyclists, past and present

    Wheels on Ice: Stories of Cycling in Alaska collected by Jessica Cherry & Frank Soos (University of Nebraska Press) reveals Alaska’s key role in bicycling both as a mode of travel and as an endurance sport, as well as its special allure for those seeking the proverbial struggle against nature. Our resident cycling afficionado – albeit not a psyclist – Duncan Jamieson found the book thoroughly enjoyable to read, and his enlightening review is in itself highly readable.

    A disparate collection of chapters builds a sketchy picture of cycling then and now

    According to the publisher, Jody Rosen’s Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle (The Bodley Head) is a panoramic revisionist portrait of the nineteenth-century invention that is transforming the twenty-first-century world. Our cycling expert, Ohio-based historian Duncan R. Jamieson finds this to be an incredible stretch for even the most optimistic cyclist. While acknowledging that it’s worth the read, he finds too many omissions and too little depth in a book that certainly is not about “the history and mystery of the bicycle”.

    Thoroughbred horse racing, the original American pastime

    Horse Racing the Chicago Way: Gambling, Politics, and Organized Crime, 1837–1911 by Steven A. Riess (Syracuse University Press) explores the role of political influence and class in the rise and fall of thoroughbred racing, as well as the business and social significance of racing. Our reviewer is cycling historian Duncan R. Jamieson, a frequent and diligent contributor to Professor Jamieson shares some personal racing memories as a backdrop to his knowledgeable and appreciative review.

    A well-written and engaging history of the bicycle in Britain from its earliest days through to the present

    Neil Carter’s Cycling and the British: A Modern History (Bloomsbury) charts the historical development of cycling both as a leisure and sporting activity since the 19th century and explores the wider political and cultural context in which cycling in Britain emerged. Seasoned cycling historian Duncan R. Jamieson found much to enjoy in Carter’s thoroughly researched and captivating history of British cycling and society, spanning a century and a half.

    A beautifully written account of bicycle racing in American history

    We may think of bicycle racing as primarily a European sport, but in fact the United States has a proud history of bike racing. That history is told in the new edition of Peter Joffre Nye’s Hearts of Lions: The History of American Bicycle Racing (University of Nebraska Press). Our stateside bicycle authority Duncan Jamieson is thoroughly impressed with Nye’s voluminous tome, but with strong reservations regarding the place of women racers in his book.

    Local History at its Best: Boston and the Cycle

    Social psychologist, long-time bicycle rider and activist Lorenz Finison has studied the bicycle in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Duncan Jamieson reviews two volumes by Finison, Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880-1900Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880–1900: A story of race, sport and society and Boston's Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance: Cultural Change on Two Wheels (both University of Massachusetts Press).

    A must-read study of cycling as a sociological phenomenon

    Cycling: A Sociology of Vélomobility (Routledge) is written by Peter Cox, a Professor of sociology at the University of Chester with a Ph.D. in philosophy. Cox digs deep into the multifarious aspects of cycling in order to form a sociological understanding of this global means of sustainable mobility. Our reviewer is historian and cycling expert Duncan Jamieson, who welcomes the book with enthusiasm.