Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Another Book Review - Major

My sister sent me a book that I definitely recommend titled, "Major" by Todd Balf. The subtitle is "A Black Athlete, A White Era, And The Fight To Be The World's Fastest Human Being". She was browsing around a bookstore and I think the cover of Major Taylor on his bike caught her eye, so she picked it up for me. That was a one very good read.

I had heard of Major Taylor, but didn't know many details about his life. I felt like the author, Todd Balf, did a really good job of telling the reader how Major Taylor became literally the fastest human being at a point in history. I won't spoil the outcome, but his story is epic.

Something else that struck me, was that Mr. Balf did an excellent job of, I think, of understanding the black experience. I just felt like he got it down pretty good without being condescending or making the reader feel like black folks at that time were helpless. Even though racism was extreme to say the least, Taylor's story is inspirational on how he overcame incredible odds. My dad has a saying that he'll drop on me from time to time, "Be A Man Among Men". Taylor was definitely a man that didn't let anything hold him back despite the madness he had to endure.

Another thing I dug about the book is Mr. Balf is a cyclist who has written for a number of publications including "Bicycling" magazine. He seemed to really get the details of what being a top bicycle racer was all about. For example, he was able to describe Taylor's training and racing tactics that show he knew what he was talking about. I don't think you'll be disappointed when you read this book.



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