Major Legend Marshall Taylor

Updated: February 25, 2008




There are so many books

published and lots of them

Sports books a decent

number about Black

athletes and their

time only a few

are Classics

” Major: A Black Athlete, A White Era And The Fight To Be The world’s Fastest Human Being ” by author Todd Balf, published today, February 26, 2008, early reviews suggest may well be one of those rare Classics. Placing the life and the times of Bicycling Champion Marshall Taylor already famous – if not as much he should be – making him into n even more Olympian Figure with a story to resonate through the ages far more than it has because of the quality of this new book.

In fact here is a first for the Box

we are sending you directly to Amazon

even before you have read this Box

to buy and enjoy and learn from

Todd Balf’s NEW book at once

OK now that you have ordered your copy welcome back to the Box where you spend such Quality Time. What we will do for you is quote extensively from the publisher’s description of the book “Major” and some early reviews because they say it so well and besides we need to get up to a local book store that has some advance copies for sale before they are all gone. SORRY Box fans we’d like to give you that information but we all ready do enough for you without having you get the book before us.

From the publisher Random House …

Major is the gripping story of a superstar nobody saw coming—a classic underdog, aided by an unlikely crew: a disgraced fight promoter, a broken ex-racer, and a poor upstate girl from New York who wanted to be a queen. It is also the account of a fierce rivalry that would become an archetypal tale of white versus black in the 20th century. Most of all, it is the tale of our nation’s first black sports celebrity—a man who transcended the handicaps of race at the turn of the century to reach the stratosphere of fame.”

” At the turn of the 20th century, hundreds of handsome, 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 was awarded to them. Major Taylor aimed to be the fastest of them all. A prominent black man at a time when such a thing was deemed scandalous, his mounting victories, high moral virtue, and bullet like riding style made him a target for ridicule from the press and sabotage by the white riders who shared the track with him.”

From Publishers Weekly …..

” Balf, who writes for Men’s Journal, does great work presenting the complex nature of Taylor’s life, including his up-bringing in poverty in Indianapolis, the years he was treated as a son by a rich white family, the fans who both worshipped and vilified him and his close relationships with his white trainer and promoter. Much of the book revolves around Taylor’s rivalry with the pugnacious, bigoted Floyd McFarland to be the fastest rider in the world, with their stirring final battle in Australia serving as the book’s inspiring climax. Balf’s prose is both evocative and informative, as can be seen in his description of the feeling one gets on one’s first bike ride: the moment when doubt and fear release in a simple, fundamental expression of emotions. Despite all the injustices, injuries and obstacles he faced, Taylor never lost that feeling and that’s what makes this a truly engaging narrative.”

From fellow author Hampton Sides ..

” With Major, Todd Balf has given us an astonishing book about race and racing in Gilded Age America. This is literary sports writing at its finest. In the tradition of David Halberstam and Frank DeFord, Balf paints intimate portraits of young athletes at the top of their game- and takes us on an epic ride to a nearly forgotten world of sport.”

From fellow author Daniel Coyle …

” If a literary magician could somehow combine the long shot thrill of Seabiscuit, the groundbreaking nobility of Jackie Robinson, and the dramatic flair of Babe Ruth, the result would be something close to this book. Major Taylor is perhaps the greatest American underdog story ever told; I couldn’t put it down.”

And from fellow author Kevin Baker …

” In Major, Todd Balf has given us the true story of a fascinating, vanished sports world, and one of America’s first, great black champions. It reads as fast and as beautifully as its heroes spin.”

And a bit about the author himself ….

” TODD BALF, a former senior editor for Outside magazine, has profiled the iconic personalities in pro bicycle racing for numerous national magazines, including Men’s Journal, ESPN The Magazine, and Bicycling. He is the author of The Last River and The Darkest Jungle. He lives in Beverly, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.”

And NOW a brief excerpt right from chapter 1 of ” Major ” ….

” The South was still burning. Thousands of Confederate POWs remained in Union custody, having refused allegiance to their Yankee victors, and only a partial accounting of the 623,000 war dead had been made. It was a mere eight weeks after Appomattox and the end of the Civil War, but people were already on the move. The promise of America’s large northern industrial cities, where work could be had and lives remade, triggered a massive response home and abroad.”

This is the world Marshall Taylor was born into and then conquered despite his Blackness and was then conquered because of his Blackness. Long revered for his Greatness his Triumphant as a truly GREAT bicycle racer and his Tragedy being barred from competing against Whites in America where he would have completely dominated what was in his time far and away the most popular and important Sport in America.

One more example of African American “loss”

at the hands of White America using Race

as a pathetic excuse for “winning”

against SUPERIOR talent and

Marshall Taylor’s bigger than

most in all of Sports history

still brought DOWN by

White Racism now

retold even better

than Before …

READ this


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Marshall Taylor