Growing Up Harley-Davidson: Memoirs of a Motorcycle Dynasty

Overview

Motorcycles have been a way of life for Jean Davidson. Her grandfather was Walter Davidson, one of the four founders and the first president of Harley-Davidson. Her father was company vice president Gordon Davidson. And Jean herself was a Harley-Davidson dealer, rubbing elbows with all the Harleys and Davidsons as well as the Hell's Angels and Outlaws, famous racers, and Evel Knievel. This is the history of Harley-Davidson motorcycles no one else knew-until now! Here is the fairy-tale story of how four boys built...

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Overview

Motorcycles have been a way of life for Jean Davidson. Her grandfather was Walter Davidson, one of the four founders and the first president of Harley-Davidson. Her father was company vice president Gordon Davidson. And Jean herself was a Harley-Davidson dealer, rubbing elbows with all the Harleys and Davidsons as well as the Hell's Angels and Outlaws, famous racers, and Evel Knievel. This is the history of Harley-Davidson motorcycles no one else knew-until now! Here is the fairy-tale story of how four boys built their first motorcycle in a shed; how a slippery-handed maid stole all the company's earnings from the coffee can that served as their "bank"; and how a hermit uncle donated his life's savings to resurrect the company and set it on the path to becoming the world's most famous motorcycle maker. Here is the inside scoop on behind-the-boardroom-door politics and corporate battles, the unknown history of the first Knucklehead and Sportster, the secret friendship with arch-rival Indian motorcycles, and more. Here are family stories and rare photos from the family album that no one else has seen before.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Partly a personal memoir but primarily a history of the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company, this is a pleasant departure from the many other company histories. Written by a granddaughter of one of the company's founders, it focuses mainly on the company's formation and growth during the early to mid-1900s and has the added perspective of details and commentary on the personal, social, and working lives of Harley's founding families. Much of this is anecdotal, derived from memories, family stories, and diaries, and will surely contribute to the lore that surrounds the Harley-Davidson motorcycle for example, that it was developed as a quicker, more fun way to get to the fishing hole than by bicycle. The observations, perspectives, and style of the book make it interesting and useful, although some of the material is sketchy or doesn't tie in well. Vintage photographs add interest but often have little link with adjoining text. A good addition for public library motorcycling collections and perhaps for academic libraries seeking historical material on Harley-Davidson. David Van de Streek, Pennsylvania State Univ. Libs., York Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896585690
  • Publisher: Voyageur Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2003
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,396,528
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword: Memoirs of a Motorcycle Dynasty 10
Prologue: Motorcycles as a Way of Life 12
Davidson Clan Family Tree 16
Harley-Davidson Motorcycling Timeline 18
Chapter 1 From Scotland to Wisconsin 26
Chapter 2 Two Boys with a Dream 32
Chapter 3 Out of the Basement and into the Shed 44
Chapter 4 The Honey Uncle to the Rescue 56
Chapter 5 That Silent Gray Fellow 64
Chapter 6 Racing to Compete 74
Chapter 7 A Family Affair 78
Chapter 8 Turning Iron into Gold 90
Chapter 9 Family Matters 108
Chapter 10 Do You Know Where Your Children Are? 142
Chapter 11 The Next Generation: My Dad Joins the Company 154
Chapter 12 The Motorcycle That Saved Harley-Davidson 172
Chapter 13 Harley-Davidson Goes to War 184
Chapter 14 Grandfather Dictates the Future from His Hospital Bed 186
Chapter 15 The Birth of a Boy Brings Joy--and Sadness--to Our Family 192
Chapter 16 The Original Harley-Davidson Rebel 198
Chapter 17 My Love Affair with Motorcycles 216
Chapter 18 The Demise of Indian Motorcycles 220
Chapter 19 Elvis Presley, King of the Road 232
Chapter 20 Bad Reputation 234
Chapter 21 Playing the Charade 244
Chapter 22 A Dealership of Our Own 248
Chapter 23 Evel Knievel, All-American Daredevil 256
Chapter 24 The Sale and Buy-Back of Harley-Davidson 260
Epilogue: Growing Up Harley-Davidson 266
Index 268
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2002

    Harley Lovers Everywhere

    Every person who ever loved a Hog should own this wonderful book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2002

    Insightful! Excellent! One of a Kind!

    Harley-Davidson riders everywhere will enjoy this book. I did not want to put the book down once I opened it. If you love Harley-Davidson motorcycles and live to ride this book will enhance your knowledge of, and respect for the families behind The Motor Company. Many writers have presented their own perspective on the history of the company. This book presents a glimpse of being in the family of a company founder. It puts human beings into the history behind The Motor Company. It is a very refreshing perspective not offered by other authors.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2001

    Inspiring! Creative & Personal!

    This book is wonderful! I have already read the manuscript and loved it! My mom has always been a fantastic story teller! These are stories that I grew up with and were told to us by so many of our relatives in the Harley-Davidson family. I am very happy to know that a more personal history of Harley-Davidson will be enjoyed by others and preserved for future generations! :)

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