Hundred Years of Hogs

The Harley-Davidson Motor Company - A 100-Year History

-by David K. Wright

 This is actually the 4th edition of a book that debuted in 1982. At that time, Wright explains that amidst all of the turmoil of the buyback from AMF, none of the H-D brass were particularly concerned about a young author rooting frantically about in the company archives for every snippet of minutiae he could find involving the goings on of the Motor Company. Believe me when I tell you that every aspect of the H-D story from day one to present is laid out in exhaustive detail by Wright. 

This is not a puff piece on the glories of commandeering the nation's highways astride America's most (in)famous V-Twin. In fact, only 25 color photos adorn this 232-page book, which may prove a challenge for the USA TODAY readers in the audience. I actually found this to be somewhat of a curious decision considering the importance of the H-D's visual appeal to its popularity, but the focus of Wright's book is single-mindedly on documenting the bikes, events, and decisions that comprise the company's history. If you ever need to prep for the H-D category of Jeopardy, this would definitely be the place to start. An excerpt for example, "One source of income from 1933 through 19

37 was a licensing agreement arranged by one of its overseas representatives, Alfred Child. Child and a Japanese businessman signed a contract in 1932 that turned over blueprints for current H-D models to a Japanese consortium. The factory received $3,000 for the prints in 1933, followed by sums of $5,000, $8,000 and $10,000 in 1934, 1935, and 1936 respectively." For the man who thinks he knows everything about H-D, you have found your measuring stick.

Only twenty five color photos adorn this book, which may prove a challenge for the USA Today readers in the audience On the downside, Wright's style is more "just the facts" than Joe Friday, and a non-HD fanatic may find his eyes glazing over from lack of humor or hyperbole. Also, the numerous black and white photos are frequently out of sync with the bikes or events being described on the page, which is a particularly grating defect. Nonetheless, on the whole, it would be hard to imagine the bookshelf of a devout Harley man without it. After all, you never know when an argument could break out over the amount H-D received from a Japanese consortium in 1935. Far better to settle it with Wright's book than the traditional flying barstool!

Hardbound 232 pages 25 color photos, 260 black & white photos $19.95


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