Major Taylor

The Inspiring Story of a Black Cyclist and the Men Who Helped Him Achieve Worldwide Fame

Foreword by Greg LeMond
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About The Book

“Perhaps the most important book ever written about cycling in America. Before Magic, before Ali, before Jesse Owens, there was Major Taylor. . . . This is a must read [for] anyone interested in the transcendent power of the bicycle as a vehicle of real freedom.”—Bob Roll, NBC cycling analyst and former professional cyclist

In the wake of the Tour de France’s fallen heroes, the story of one of history’s most legendary cyclists provides a much-needed antidote. In 1907 the world’s most popular athlete was not Cy Young or Ty Cobb. Rather, he was a black bicycle racer named “Major” Taylor.

In his day, Taylor became a spiritual and athletic idol. He was the fastest man in America, and a champion who prevailed over unspeakable cruelty. The men who aided him were among the most colorful to emerge from the era. First there was Taylor’s manager, pugnacious Irishman and famed Broadway producer William Brady. Then along came Arthur Zimmerman, an internationally famous bike racer, who gently mentored Taylor when some riders drew the color line and refused to race against him. When hotel and restaurant operators denied Taylor food and lodgings, forcing him to sleep in horse stables and race hungry, there was a benevolent racer-turned-trainer named Birdie Munger, who took Taylor under his wing and into his home. From the Old World came a rakishly handsome, mustachioed sports promoter named Victor Breyer, who lured Taylor overseas for a dramatic, Seabiscuit versus War Admiral–like match race that would be widely remembered a quarter century later.

With a foreword by World Champion and three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, this spellbinding saga of fortitude, grace, forgiveness, and a man’s unyielding will to win against the greatest of odds is sure to become an classic that will be enjoyed by everyone.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Sports Publishing imprint, is proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in sports—books about baseball, pro football, college football, pro and college basketball, hockey, or soccer, we have a book about your sport or your team.

In addition to books on popular team sports, we also publish books for a wide variety of athletes and sports enthusiasts, including books on running, cycling, horseback riding, swimming, tennis, martial arts, golf, camping, hiking, aviation, boating, and so much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to publishing books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked by other publishers and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Skyhorse (April 2016)
  • Length: 448 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781510704169

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Raves and Reviews

"A world champion bicycle racer whose fame was undermined by prejudice." —New York Times

“[Major Taylor’s] entire life story, deftly recited in all its drama by authors Conrad Kerber and Terry Kerber, is the stuff of legends . . .” —Greg LeMond, from the foreword

". . . Meticulously researched and gracefully written. . . a wonderful ride through a lost world." —MinnPost

“An eloquently written story of a forgotten hero whose name should now become known worldwide. This meticulously researched narrative brings back the larger-than-life characters of this forgotten era, highlighting a sport and an athlete that became the daily obsession for millions of Americans, Europeans, and Australians. Major Taylor is a wonderful reading history of track racing in all its glory, trauma, suspense, and heartbreak.” —Phil Liggett, NBC cycling commentator and “The Voice of Cycling”

“The Kerbers reenact turn-of-the-century events in captivating detail. The racing scenes are like none other in the annals of cycling authorship. It’s as if you are there, in the grandstands in 1901, feeling the gripping tension, smelling the saddle leather, seeing the strain of the riders’ every pedal stroke. Each breath of the racers becomes yours, charging toward the finish line and unprecedented fame.” —Paul Sherwen, NBC cycling analyst and former pro cyclist

Major Taylor is so much more than just a story of a bicycle racer from long ago. It’s suspense-packed, page-turning nonfiction that feels like a novel.” —Harvey Mackay, author of the New York Times bestseller Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

“The fact that the greatest living athlete in the world in 1907 was a bicyclist was enough to capture my attention. The dramatic story—and the heroic fable—that followed kept me turning pages. Major Taylor belongs in the pantheon of great bicycling literature.” —Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow, New York Times bestselling author of Blue Zones, and three-time cycling world record holder

“Perhaps the most important book ever written about cycling in America. Before Magic, before Ali, before Jesse Owens there was Major Taylor. A person who was truly born to ride! This is a must read by anyone interested in the transcendent power of the bicycle as a vehicle of real freedom. Long may Major Taylor's legend live.”—Bob Roll, NBC cycling analyst and former professional cyclist

“[Major Taylor’s] entire life story, deftly recited in all its drama by authors Conrad Kerber and Terry Kerber, is the stuff of legends . . .” —Greg LeMond, from the foreword

". . . Meticulously researched and gracefully written. . . a wonderful ride through a lost world." —MinnPost

“An eloquently written story of a forgotten hero whose name should now become known worldwide. This meticulously researched narrative brings back the larger-than-life characters of this forgotten era, highlighting a sport and an athlete that became the daily obsession for millions of Americans, Europeans, and Australians. Major Taylor is a wonderful reading history of track racing in all its glory, trauma, suspense, and heartbreak.” —Phil Liggett, NBC cycling commentator and “The Voice of Cycling”

“The Kerbers reenact turn-of-the-century events in captivating detail. The racing scenes are like none other in the annals of cycling authorship. It’s as if you are there, in the grandstands in 1901, feeling the gripping tension, smelling the saddle leather, seeing the strain of the riders’ every pedal stroke. Each breath of the racers becomes yours, charging toward the finish line and unprecedented fame.” —Paul Sherwen, NBC cycling analyst and former pro cyclist

“Major Taylor is so much more than just a story of a bicycle racer from long ago. It’s suspense-packed, page-turning nonfiction that feels like a novel.” —Harvey Mackay, author of the New York Times bestseller Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

“The fact that the greatest living athlete in the world in 1907 was a bicyclist was enough to capture my attention. The dramatic story—and the heroic fable—that followed kept me turning pages. Major Taylor belongs in the pantheon of great bicycling literature.” —Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow, New York Times bestselling author of Blue Zones, and three-time cycling world record holder

“Perhaps the most important book ever written about cycling in America. Before Magic, before Ali, before Jesse Owens there was Major Taylor. A person who was truly born to ride! This is a must read by anyone interested in the transcendent power of the bicycle as a vehicle of real freedom. Long may Major Taylor's legend live.”—Bob Roll, NBC cycling analyst and former professional cyclist

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