The World’s Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America’s First Black Sports Hero

Michael Kranish. Scribner, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9259-3
Political reporter Kranish (Trump Revealed) narrates the life of Marshall “Major” Taylor, an African-American man who became the world’s greatest cyclist in what was one of the nation’s most popular sports at the turn of the 20th century. Taylor (1878–1932) was raised in Indianapolis and hoped to become the greatest cyclist in America; he fought against racism from the start of his career as a teenager, writing letters to the League of American Wheelsmen after the organization proposed a ban on blacks from racing, and to the cyclist magazine Bearings (“I am a cyclist; further, I am a negro... I think it’s high time for someone of my color to say a few words”). Kranish drew from past interviews with Taylor’s friends and family members—as well as his 90-year-old daughter—who shared stories of life in Jim Crow America as well as recollections of Taylor’s races (Taylor also meticulously kept clippings of every news item in which he was mentioned). Taylor competed throughout the world and, at the 1899 ICA Track Cycling Championship in Montreal, became the first African-American world champion of a sport—a decade before boxer Jack Johnson became a heavyweight boxing champion. Toward the end of his career, Taylor refused to enter competitions in a segregated U.S., turning his attention instead to Europe. Kranish provides a sharp-eyed account of a nearly forgotten African-American sports legend. Agent: David Black, David Black Agency. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/25/2019
Release date: 05/07/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-5011-9260-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-8642-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-8640-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-9343-9
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