>> Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Released to the public last January is a new book about the history of Harley-Davidson intended for young readers.
"Harley and the Davidsons" is about Bill Harley and Arthur Davidson, along with Arthur's two brothers William and Walter, and how they created not just a motorcycle company, but a piece of American culture.
Written by Pete Barnes, a 5th Grade history teacher from Ohio, the book was commissioned by the Wisconsin Historial Society as a resource for state-sanctioned Wisconsin history curriculum in elementary schools.
Intended for readers aged 8-12 years old, the 100-page history book puts together a piece of American history that also teaches a lesson in pursuing dreams and persevering in the face of bad times.
Here is a synopsis from The Bee, the local newspaper from Phillips, WI...
The book opens with 10-year-old Arthur and Bill dreaming of building a motorized bicycle that will make their trips home from the local fishing hole easier and faster. Read more about "Harley and the Davidsons" at The Bee...
They tinker and study the remedial engines available in the late 1880s and recruit the older Davidson boys to help with the fabrication of parts. While both have to obtain jobs to fund their quest and help their families survive, all four young men keep at their dream until they have a bike worthy of the Harley-Davidson name.
Barnes discusses the social times surrounding Harley and the Davidsons, how World War I, the depression of the 1920s, the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II forced changes in marketing, manufacturing and how the emergence of Japanese business practices forced the second generation of Harleys and Davidsons to sell the company.
But like any good children's story, "Harley and the Davidsons: Motorcycle Legends" comes with a happy ending. The return of the company to family ownership under grandson Willie Davidson and the full glorious legend these spectacular bikes evoke.
One surprise in the book is the introduction of another childhood friend of Bill Harley's - Ole Evinrude. Yes, the very same Evinrude who created and founded Envinrude Outboard Motors.
You can purchase this book online from Amazon.com...