Read Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride by Peter Zheutlin Online

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Until 1894 there were no female sport stars, no product endorsement deals, and no young mothers with the chutzpah to circle the globe on a bicycle. Annie Kopchovsky changed all of that. Annie was a Jewish immigrant and working mother of three living in a Boston tenement with her husband, a peddler. This was as close to the American dream as she was likely to get--until shUntil 1894 there were no female sport stars, no product endorsement deals, and no young mothers with the chutzpah to circle the globe on a bicycle. Annie Kopchovsky changed all of that. Annie was a Jewish immigrant and working mother of three living in a Boston tenement with her husband, a peddler. This was as close to the American dream as she was likely to get--until she became part of what one newspaper called "one of the most novel wagers ever made": a high-stakes bet between two wealthy merchants that a woman could not ride around the world on a bicycle, as Thomas Stevens had a few years before. Annie rose to the challenge, pledging to finish her fifteen-month trip with a staggering $5,000 earned by selling advertising space on her bike and her clothing, making personal appearances in stores and at bicycle races, and lecturing about her adventures along the way. When the Londonderry Lithia Springs Water Company of New Hampshire offered to become the first of her many sponsors, Annie Kopchovsky became Annie Londonderry, and a legend was born. So began one of the greatest escapades--and publicity stunts--of the Victorian Age. In this marvelously written book, author Peter Zheutlin vividly recounts the story of the audacious woman who turned every Victorian notion of female propriety on its ear. When Annie left Boston in June 1894, she was a brash young lady with a 42-pound bicycle, a revolver, a change of underwear, and a dream of freedom. The epic journey that followed--from a frigid ride through France to an encounter with outlaw John Wesley Hardin in El Paso--took the connection between athletics and commercialism to dizzying new heights and turned Annie into a symbol of sexual equality. A beguiling true story of a bold spirit who reinvented herself against all odds, Around the World on Two Wheels blends social history and high adventure into an unforgettable portrait of courage, imagination and tenacity. ...

Title : Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride
Author :
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ISBN : 9780806528519
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride Reviews

  • Kaye McSpadden
    2018-11-18 00:48

    At first, I was very excited to hear about this true but mostly unknown story about a 19th-century woman who rode a bicycle around the world. However, about a quarter of the way through, my disappointment in the book started growing and continued, all the way to the end. These are my comments:1. First, I must point out that I listened to the audiobook version and personally, I thought the narrator was awful. (It was not the author.) He read the text in an odd and distracting cadence with a kind of up-talk lilt at the end of many sentences. His style didn't match the story and I found it annoying and distracting. (I can't help but wonder if I would have liked the book more if the narration had been better.)2. Second, the author's substantial use of direct quotes from the newspapers of the time was tedious. There were so many of them, I was reminded of a grade-school report in which a student cobbles together paragraphs from an encyclopedia instead of writing the report in his/her own words. Furthermore, many of these articles were redundant, and only continued to relate the fabricated details of Annie's bike ride, speaking of which...3. I felt somewhat misled by the title and description of the story, which I thought would be one of adventure and history-making, when in fact it was a story of hood-winking the public. Why not be up-front with this from the beginning?4. I really didn't feel like I got to "know" Annie in this book. I understand the author's handicap in not being able to uncover many direct sources from Annie herself, but I think it would have been better if the author had a point of view about who and what Annie was, rather than leaving her as a bit of a mystery and a curiosity. In fact, to me, the most interesting part of the book was in the two sections at the very end that came after the epilogue (can't remember what he called them). In these sections, the author relates his own story of discovering a personal connection to Annie and his experience of researching her tale. I really enjoyed this part of the book. Further, when he relates the story of what happened to Annie's daughter, Molly, and her other children after their mother's bike ride, the book became very dramatic and riveting -- THAT is the story I wish he had told, rather than simply stringing together endless newspaper articles about Annie's bike ride. (I think it would have been better if he used the approach that Rebecca Skloot used in "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.")5. Actually, what I would like to see is a fictional account of Annie's story. There are enough facts about this fascinating story that a good fiction writer could paint a captivating tale of this unusual woman and her adventure, by using a bit of imagination and envisioning certain aspects of the story. 6. One final comment: I really enjoyed learning about the significance of the bicycle to the lives of women and the growing women's movement, and also the phenomenon of competitive round-the-world travels that were so popular in the late 19th century. I'm glad I read the book and learned about this little-known chapter in American history and women's history, but can't highly recommend the book itself.

  • Lisa Buie-Collard
    2018-11-12 20:34

    This story was incredible!!! I had never heard of "Annie Londonderry" until my husband bought this book for me to read. As I have cycled across southern and western France he was sure Annie would pique my interest. He was right. I'm glad to have read the story told through the eyes of one of her relations. I'm not sure anyone else could have done so unbiased a job as Peter Zheutlin has done. I must say, as much as I admire her prowess, I would so love to know what was going on in her mind to have lived the life she did. Bicycling around the world isn't easy to do even now, so I can't even imagine what Annie really felt about what she did while she was doing it. If you like an underdog taking on the world and "winning" kind of story then read this book.Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride

  • Thomas
    2018-11-24 18:40

    I found this to be a very terrible book about a very interesting event. The author didn't have sufficient information to really tell the story, so he speculated endlessly. "What Annie must have been thinking at this time?" "Whether she actually did this or that is not known, but..." He fills in the rest of the pages by quoting endless newspaper stories that say exactly the same thing, over and over again. It seems quite clear to me that this gentleman sold the book on proposal and then could not dredge up sufficient verifiable AND interesting information to provide an entire book on the subject. And so he went with 25% verifiable, 25% interesting, 25% completely speculative and 25% totally irrelevant. Of course, that only covered about 20,000 words, so he just repeated them over and over again. This could read as a textbook on how NOT to write a popular history. I found this book truly awful.For Victorian history obsessives, or complete early-bicycling-history wonks, it should get two stars out of five, instead of the one star (or no stars if that was allowed) I gave it, because it has a few brief passages of interesting information about the development of women's riding clothes. However, even there, the author implies that the protagonist's adoption of certain clothes existed completely in a vacuum -- as if she invented this stuff. He offers NO documentation for this, and in fact appears unclear on the details of bicycling history. He seems to be operating with an extremely narrow focus that does an utter disservice to the topic. The author's knowledge of bicycling technology seems fantastically absent; he doesn't cover much of the interesting aspects of the way bicycles were invented, and that seems far more relevant than other things discussed repetitively (and largely without insight). It is actually bizarre to read a book so unbelievably un-insightful, pretentious and self-important all at the same time. There is a dearth of information on some of these topics, but on other areas it would have taken relatively little research to provide important details about other aspects of the bicycling world at the time, and placing this in larger context.Instead, the author wrote a book that reads like a term paper written by a lazy student, who's incapable of thinking big. A trivial and unimportant book about an invigorating time and an inspiring string of bicycling developments, viewed with myopia by peering at the fragmentary string of events that are not isolated, but seem so because of the author's unbelievable flatness of affect. A REALLY disappointing book.

  • Cameron
    2018-11-22 17:54

    To me, this is an example of when a historical non-fiction, with a fascinating and little-known subject matter, goes very, very wrong.The story focuses on a woman named Annie Kochovsky who, near the turn of the century, abandoned her husband and three children, along with her Jewish last name, and set out to be the first woman to travel around the world on bicycle. Interesting idea, especially when you consider the role of women at the time and how Annie may have contributed to the idea of the "New Woman." And, even more interesting, the entire venture was really nothing more than a promotional ploy as she even changed her last name to Londonderry for a sponsorship agreement, and the entire idea behind the challenge to race around the world was based on false pretenses of a bet between wealthy businessmen. There are so many false pretenses that flow from Londonderry's mouth during the book that it becomes decidedly difficult to determine fact from fiction. Fascinating, right?Well, unfortunately, in the hands of the author, the story is so muddled in copious yet insignificant detail that the true story, adventure, and intrigue get left way behind. Nobody can cite Zheutlin for a lack of research. But the book reads like a high school history report with chopped together newspaper quotations and first-hand letters without much exposition or actual story-telling in-between. And in the portions of the tale that seem like they should be the most interesting, there is little said while several pages are dedicated to quotations that are pointless and add little if nothing to he progression of the account. It may very well be that there is just not enough actual information to fill in the gaps, such as any information about why Annie might have embarked on the journey. And that might be why the book felt rather incomplete. The Wikipedia page on Annie, by the way, is comprised of eight very slender paragraphs.Despite the fascinating subject matter, the book feels a lot like Londonderry's around the world adventure: long, clunky, tiring, and full of suspicious factual accounting holes.

  • Nate Briggs
    2018-12-03 00:36

    There are several historical characters who deserve movies of their own - or at least screenplays - but most of these individuals I keep to myself (if a story is too good to be true, then I naturally want to write it).But I'm happy to remind anyone and everyone about one of the great feminist figures of the 19th Century: the amazing Annie Londonderry - the first woman to more or less "ride a bicycle around the world" - and whose adventures are detailed in "Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride" [Peter Zheutin].At the time of her adventure, in 1894, Annie Kopchovsky was a mother of three, wife of an immigrant, and had never ridden a bicycle in her life. This is a story of gold-plated audacity and startling re-invention: a young woman riding alone out of Boston with one change of clothes, no money, and just the ambition to be famous. She appears to have been a born storyteller, and extremely glib: consistently using the main channel of media at the time (newspapers) to publicize her tour and raise money. It was probably inevitable that she be something of a huckster. You could say that she made lying into something of an art form. On the other hand, since the cultural deck was firmly stacked against her, she needed a little deception to even the odds. She was 15 months on the road, making a memorable impression wherever she went, and then - once back home - she went back to being a wife and mother for the most part. She promised a book, but never wrote it - and now is thoroughly forgotten. She's a character made for a brash, and funny, and (what the hell) mildly erotic movie.

  • Niffer
    2018-12-08 23:39

    There's a part of me that really enjoyed this book and learning about the almost faddish history of races and rides around the world. I was fascinated by Annie's boldness in going on the trip, and her clever brashness in seeking sponsors and fast talking people into supporting her ride. Considering that it sounds like the author did not have much to work on--mostly a lot of newspaper articles--he did a pretty decent job of piecing her trip together and parsing out reality from Annie's many stories.That being said, I feel as though the book had an overall unfinished feel to it. From the epilogue, I got the sense that the author really developed a sense of hero worship for Annie and perhaps was more eager to share her story *now* than to polish it up. Or perhaps the publisher decided there wasn't likely to be a huge clamor of people wanting to read the book, so when it looked pretty good they went ahead and published it quickly.The title of the book is misleading--Annie didn't ride her bike around the world--and there was a lot of that sort of misleading information in the book. Don't get me wrong. The author very definitely would clarify what was fact and what was fiction, but he would often do so after presenting Annie's tale as fact. If he had maybe capitalized on the discrepancies as almost a plot device, I think he could have gotten more out of the book. Also, I think the book would have been stronger if the negatives had been more upfront, along with the positives.There was also a lot of information in the Epilogue that I think would have added to the story, like what had happened to the family. The author almost mentions them as an aside, not worth developing, but Annie's story was not just her daring at traveling the world. It also included the impact it had on her loved ones. I think the book would have been stronger if there had been a bit more focus on that.All that being said, it was a fascinating story and offered an interesting glimpse into the past.

  • Jackie Brady
    2018-11-30 01:03

    While I was somewhat disappointed by this book and its heroine, it still kept my interest and truly awed me at moments. When I learned that a young woman cycled around the world solo in the 1890s, I knew I had to learn more. I thought it would be so cool to follow in her footsteps and have my own Julie and Julia moment. Alas, a recreation of her journey wouldn't be quite as adventurous as I first expected. It turns out that Annie mainly cycled in the US and France and then took a steamship the rest of the way. She got off at various ports and cycled in several countries along the way, but the reality was less grand than I imagined. Nonetheless, she was quite the character. She was progressive for her era, and the fact that she went on such a journey at all is remarkable. She was a bit of a con woman, though the author takes a more generous view of her frequent lies. His writing became quite repetitive as the book wore on, and he seems to like the word "apocryphal" overmuch. At any rate, Annie was a colorful character, and I enjoyed learning about her.

  • Heather
    2018-11-20 17:44

    This book turned out to be different than I expected, and so did Annie Londonderry. It was a very interesting look into 1895 America and she sounds like she was quite the character.The last third of the book is bibliography and notes, but make sure you read the Epilogue and Afterward and Annie’s Ian account of her trip which was published in the newspaper.

  • Jenn
    2018-12-12 17:49

    I read this a while ago and loaned it out - I recommend this as a "keeper" - inspirational story of a young woman who not only road across the US and then the world, but managed to get sponsors to keep her travels going and spoke to groups. Very inspirational!

  • Sonia
    2018-12-09 21:54

    Non si tratta di un romanzo. O di una biografia. O di un saggio sui benefici e non della bicicletta.E' qualcosa in meno di quel che si può pensare dal titolo, ma ha qualcosa in più da quel che ci si poteva aspettare dopo aver letto le prime pagine.Pensavo fosse la storia romanzata della famosa (non per tutti) Annie Londonderry, e della sua impresa compiuta a fine diciannovesimo secolo per una scommessa: fare il giro del mondo in bicicletta. Il racconto del suo giro c'è, ma di romanzo c'è ben poco. Alle prime pagine ho temuto perciò la noia, che avrebbe avuto come conseguenza l'abbandono... e invece ciò non è accaduto. Il libro si è rivelato interessante, le pagine scorrono velocemente e hanno un solo immediato effetto: sapere cosa accadrà, come ha portato avanti quella scommessa, come è andata a finire.La storia mi ha stupita.Ammetto di non aver mai sentito parlare di questa donna, che a vent'anni o poco più decide di accettare una scommessa, partendo da Boston lasciando a casa il marito e tre figli piccoli, per andare alla volta del mondo in sella a una bici. Con l'impegno di pagarsi il viaggio e qualsiasi bisogno avesse, e tornare entro quindici mesi con 5.000 dollari guadagnati...La sua è una vera e propria impresa titanica, molto impegnativa e sconvolgente, non solo a quei tempi. Eppure sembra che Annie non si lasci assolutamente sconfortare.Da queste pagine emerge il ritratto di una donna decisa, forte e determinata, una donna che non si fa abbattere da niente e nessuno, ma che affronta il peggio a testa alta.Una donna che fa di necessità virtù, e che di fronte alle difficoltà trova sempre il giusto modo per reagire.La storia è ricostruita attraverso gli articoli dei giornali apparsi all'epoca nei paesi che si trovava ad attraversare. Il suo passaggio in alcuni paesi, come la Francia, fu accolto con entusiasmo e ardore, in altri, come la Cina, fu quasi ignorato.I vari giornali riportano notizie e indiscrezioni su quella che si stava rivelando un'eroina, che amava far parlare di sé e che cercava in tutti i modi di attirare l'attenzione e di colpire la gente. A suon di bugie.Annie Londonderry (cognome utilizzato per l'occasione, perché suonava meglio del suo Kopchovsky, troppo ebreo per essere accettato ovunque) ha saputo vendere la sua immagine, ha saputo costruirsi un personaggio, che fosse amato e acclamato dalla gente. In ogni intervista, è riuscita a creare un clima di "mito" intorno a sé, infarcendo la sua storia di bugie, bugie che la gente amava ascoltare e a cui voleva credere. Tutto ciò, la realtà mista alla finzione che Annie stessa diffondeva, rende ancora più affascinanti il suo personaggio e la sua impresa e rende le pagine ancora più scorrevoli.Ci si ritrova immersi nella lettura, a chiedersi cosa inventerà la prossima volta, alla prossima intervista.Unica pecca del libro è che avremmo desiderato qualcosa in più, il punto di vista di Annie: le sue emozioni, le sue stanchezze, le sue scelte... insomma avremmo desiderato conoscere di più la persona e di meno il personaggio che emerge dalla ricostruzione attraverso gli articoli.In cuor nostro speriamo che qualcuno un giorno decida di farlo, decida di immaginarsi LEI e di raccontarci la storia attraverso le sue parole... la aspettiamo!!qui:http://cuoredinchiostro.blogspot.com/...

  • Kathy
    2018-12-12 20:52

    Quotable:[T]here was, in the 1890’s, a lively debate about whether cycling was beneficial or detrimental to a women’s health, and many physicians took sides. Some, mostly men, argued that the exertion involved in cycling was too much for the frail female physiology. Others took the affirmative side, often with the financial “encouragement” of bicycle manufactures.[T]he women’s movement of the 1890’s and the cycling craze became so inextricable intertwined that in 1896 Susan B. Anthony told the New York World’s Nellie Bly that bicycling had “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”With the advent of the bicycle, women not only gained physical mobility that broadened their horizons beyond the neighborhoods in which they lived, but they discovered a new-found sense of freedom of movement, a freedom previously circumscribed by the cumbersome fashions of the Victorian era as well as by Victorian sensibilities. The women who raced Ordinaries in the 1870’s often did so in risqué garments that exposed a daring amount of flesh. Arms and legs were often bare and the outfits were low-cut at the breast. Such scandalous dress was criticized by many who could not abide a spectacle that combined overt sexuality and physical exertion by women. Yet these women were the vanguard of a dress reform movement catalyzed in no small measure by the increasing popularity of the bicycle. They simply wanted clothing better suited to the pursuit than was their traditional Victorian garb. The restrictive clothing of the era – corsets, long, heavy, multilayered skirts worn over petticoats or hoop, and long-sleeved shirts with high collars, the clothing in which Annie began her journey – inhibited freedom of movement and seemed to symbolize the constricted lives women of the times were expected to lead. Such clothing was inimical to even modest forms of exercise or exertion. Cycling required a more practical, rational form of dress, and so the restrictive skirts and corsets gradually gave way to bloomers – baggy trousers, sometimes called a divided skirt, cinched at the knee. Although bloomers first appeared decades earlier, and a major social battle was waged over their propriety, the cycling craze practically mandated changes in women’s attire for any woman who wanted to ride.Annie was hardly the only woman taking to the highways on a bicycle. A few, such as Elizabeth Robins Pennell, had already made lengthy journeys by wheel. Pennell, a writer with a strong interest in women’s rights, and her husband, Joseph Pennell, spent their honeymoon in 1884 riding a tandem bicycle from London to Canterbury. Later that year, the Pennells rode a tandem tricycle from Florence to Rome, arousing great curiosity along the way. Two years later, in 1886, the Pennells, now astride Safety bicycles, toured Eastern Europe.

  • Miz Lizzie
    2018-11-18 22:47

    In 1895 Annie Kopchovsky left her Orthodox Jewish husband and three children to set off on an around the world trip on a bicycle. Purportedly to settle a bet between two "sugar kings" that a woman would be unable to complete such a feat, Annie learned to ride a "wheel", progressively adapting her attire to allow full movement, sold advertisement to be worn on her body, and told wild conflicting and some patently untrue tales of her travels as she took up the challenge. Taking the name of Annie Londonderry, after the water bottling company that was her major sponsor, Annie's journey is a fascinating example of women's rights tied to freedom of movement, storytelling, and marketing in a world before instant mass-communication. Written by her great grand-nephew, the supplementary materials about Peter Zheutlin's personal connection and genealogical reserach and Annie's published account of her journey, this is also a fascinating account of the power of personal ancestors and family stories to shape one's life. I listened to this book on audio. The reader's voice, Barrett Whitener, initially annoyed me but grew on me enough not to interfere with my enjoyment of the story.Book Pairings:I first learned of Annie Londonderry through performer Evalyn Parry's amazing spoken word rendition of Annie's story on her album (also stage show) Spin. Lots of great material about how the bicycle impacted women's rights and how that is mixed up with commercialism that brings us to our complicated relationship with transportation and commercialism even today. http://evalynparry.com/

  • Kate
    2018-11-22 18:39

    "The wearers of the bloomers are usually young women who have minds of their own and tongues that know how to talk.""The occasional denunciation of the pastime as unwomanly, is fortunately lost in the general approval that a new and wholesome recreation has been found, whose pursuit adds joy and vigor to the dowry of the race. Having reached these conclusions, the onlooker is drawn by the irresistible force of the stream. She borrows, hires or buys a wheel and follows tentatively. Her point of view is forever after changed; long before practice has made her an expert she is an enthusiast, ever ready to proselyte, defend--or ride!""All sorts and conditions of woman have enrolled themselves among cycling's devotees. The timid woman has cast away her fear, the stickler for proprieties has overcome her scruples, and the conservative has become a radical advocate of the merits of the wheel--it looks as though the whole feminine world, which does nothing by halves and is ever ready to follow a popular fashion, has gone wheel mad.""Away on the road where the dusty clouds whirlAway with a spirit ecstaticGoes the cool-as-an-icicle, bicycle girlBestriding the latest pneumatic;She heeds not the scoffers who scorn,Though knickers her kickers adorn,The cool-as-an-icicle, bicycle, tricycle maiden by no means forlorn."

  • Caitlin
    2018-12-09 21:36

    This tale was not entirely what I expected, as Annie Londonderry was something of a round-the-world fraud, but beyond the actual cycling, it's an engaging story of a woman well ahead of her time, who was a strong example of women's liberation in the 1890s, even if she demonstrated it in a rather unorthodox manner (but being unorthodox was kind of what it was all about, right?). The story of how Annie basically lied her way around the globe is just as interesting as if she'd actually done it all on two wheels and this book presents it well (and with very little bias, given it was written by her great-grand nephew). The research for the book must have been quite an adventure in itself and I enjoyed imagining Mr. Zheutlin carefully tracing Annie's route and story via newspaper clippings and other ephemera (I'm a historian, so the process is often as interesting as the conclusions for me). Woven into the story of the journey is a lot of fascinating information about women's suffrage and the role the bicycle played in women's liberation. I especially loved the explanations of the correlation between women and bicycles in both fashion and poster art. As a woman cyclist, I found the story to be fascinating and inspiring. Annie's roll may have been quirky and a bit shady, but what she and her bicycle represented for women's rights was a critical piece of history.

  • Candice
    2018-11-22 19:37

    I thought this might be a good book to recommend to biking friends, but I think I would recommend it only to female biking friends, and then with a caveat. It's not all about biking. The woman who went "around the world on two wheels" in 1894-1895 often used four. To be sure, she had to cross the oceans in ships, but it seemed like she took the train more than was absolutely necessary.Not only that, but she embellished her stories leaving the reader wondering what was true and what was not. In spite of all this, it was a good read (or listen). The story was well-told, and the admiration the author, a biker himself, felt for his great-grandaunt shines through. Even though she didn't traverse the globe on a bike, her journey was an adventure. Her first bike, a Columbia, weighed 42 pounds (!), she had no support crew, and she was criticized for wearing bloomers and men's pants instead of skirts. She was a pioneer of feminism, showing the people of that era just what a woman was capable of doing. In the afterword, we learn of the cost of Annie's 15-month odyssey to her family. Mr. Zheutlin gives us a warts-and-all portrait of Annie Londonderry and her adventure on two wheels.

  • Caitlin Cohn
    2018-11-16 01:00

    I'd give this book 2.5 stars. Zheutlin does an admirable job of stitching together a lot of different materials, but the book still fell somewhat flat for me. First, as a dress historian, I noticed that he missed the mark on his discussions of her dress. Second, his discussion of the New Woman lacks nuance. The New Woman was a trope, not a social movement, although it was associated in some people's minds with feminism. Annie Londonderry had a compelling story, but I wish Zheutlin would have focused more on how she created a character for herself. Although she obviously became a strong rider-- and she clearly had a lot of guts-- she was also duping the public, which is just as interesting of a story. I enjoyed the parts where Zheutlin discusses how he discovered that he was distantly related to Annie Londonderry and how he found her granddaughter, etc. Also, I wished he had cited more sources other than the primary sources. This decision may have been more up to his editor, however. As far as popular histories goes, this was relatively well done, but I would have liked to see more development of Annie Londonderry as a character and in relation to her family (and what it meant for a Jewish mother of three to attempt such an adventure!)

  • Bonnie
    2018-12-08 22:43

    Perhaps the author tried too hard to be unbiased as he told the story of his great grand-aunt's amazing journey. He is constantly pointing out instances where she stretched or misrepresented the truth. Still, the reader discovers, almost in spite of the author, that Annie Londonderry was a fascinating and brave woman. Not only did she find a way to see the world and find adventure, she figured out how to finance her journey on the fly, as she went along. She was representative of women discovering their wings - and their wheels.One of the best parts of the book is at the end, when the author tells how he discovered Annie and the scattered evidence of her epic journey. Perhaps he should have put that first. Then, we would understand his frustation at the contradictions and lack of proof for various segments of her story. Also, we gain insight into the darker side of Annie's journey - the cost to her and her family.This was a good story - all the better because it was true - but it could use some editing. I do admire the author for the tremendous amount of reseach he did and evidence he accumulated from all over the world.

  • Christina
    2018-12-04 23:35

    The author did an admirable job of squishing 50 pages worth of material into a 200 page book. While Annie's story is interesting, as is the society of 1894 in which it occurs, I found it grew rapidly repetitive as we are regaled with the contents of similar news articles from every little town in the USA through which she passed. I also felt a bit hornswoggled when I discovered that Annie didn't exactly ride her bike around the world as much as she took her bike with her around the world. Yes, the feat is still impressive and perhaps even ground-breaking for women at the time, but I couldn't help but feel disappointed that after she rode across France, she basically took a boat around the rest of the world, making up a few crazy stories along the way but as far as can be told, barely set foot anywhere until she reached San Francisco. So if you were hoping to find out just how a woman in 1894 fared in foreign lands, this is not the book. If you want an interesting peek at a woman defying social conventions, this will give you that, an interesting peek.

  • René
    2018-11-12 21:55

    A difficult one to rate. Up until the Afterword, I was ready to give the book just 2 stars. I was beginning to find the story repetitive. It's less a story of how Annie Londonderry cycled around the world, than of how she made tons of stuff up. After awhile I began to find all her tall tales and lies about her trip tiresome to read about, and my respect for her (and interest in her) diminished. Then you get to the end and you find out that the author is related to this woman, that he survived a cancer diagnosis, that he tracked down Annie's last surviving descendant and, finally, discovered a bombshell about Annie's oldest child. And all of that is truly fascinating--far more than Annie's trip around the world. I think this whole story would've been more compelling had the author interweaved his story and connection in with Annie's story of her trip throughout the book, as well as her descendants' stories.

  • Stephanie
    2018-11-17 21:52

    I read this book and had the chance to meet the author over a discussion of the book, which was a wonderful experience. What I like most about this book is that when you first pick it up, you assume it's going to be a narrative of an amazing ride (which it is) of an adventurous woman (which she was), but that the feat accomplished is simply a tour around the world--this is not the case. Annie Londonderry makes for a very complicated character, sometimes likeable, sometimes admirable, sometimes not, but always interesting. There is more to the story than meets the eye, and the fact that it is all true makes it even more fascinating. Definitely worth the read!

  • Theresa
    2018-11-18 19:50

    interesting to a point -- the basic idea of a woman riding her bike around the world way back at the turn of the century was intriguing. But the author writes like he is writing a dissertation -- way too caught up in documentation--the point is that we know Annie *exaggerated* (a lot) and that it is impossible to know much of what actually happened--but it's still a great story, and should have been told as such. It would have been a better read if the author simply said once or twice, hey, we don't know what really happened, but...

  • Bethany Harvey
    2018-11-19 20:36

    I "read" this book in audiobook form while on a long car trip, and I listened to it all the way through without much interruption, so my impressions may be very different from those I would have if I'd read it in paper form.But it was repetitive. The book mostly follows a chronological order, but jumped around in time just enough that you often know what's coming because it's already been mentioned. The effect is, well, boring. And there's really no excuse for a true story about a 19th-century female adventurer/con-artist traveling the world (partly) on a bicycle to be boring.

  • Janet
    2018-12-09 00:42

    An interesting but repetitive true story of Annie who left her husband Max and three toddlers to go around the world on a bicycle and steamer! She was quite the woman of her time and a real force for the understanding of women as equals to men. Many newspaper clips and opinion pieces of the time on the woman who dared to do what a man had done earlier. In many ways she was a charlatan or just a master brander! She changed her stories to gain recognition and awareness. Quite the extraordinary woman!

  • Jacqueline
    2018-11-20 22:38

    I am clearly on a bicycle kick. This entertaining family memoir is about "Annie Londonderry" who left a husband and three children in Boston and "rode" around the world on a bicycle in 1894. This enterprising young woman managed, alone and quite unaided, to make it around the world and begin advertising promotion of women's sports. The afterword is not to be missed, as it is a family history in itself.

  • Cindy
    2018-12-06 01:03

    This book was not an easy read with detailed descriptions and some repetition of the same events. However, I learned a lot about women's lives and social mores during the 1890's and a little about the history of bicycling to boot! I came to admire Annie for her independent and strong spirit in spite of her tendency to tell tall tales about her so-called trip around the world on a bicycle. Amusing. Thought provoking. It will make you grateful that you didn't live in the 1890's!

  • Amy Kauderer
    2018-12-03 18:52

    I listened to this on CD. I think that if I had been reading it, I would not have finished it. There is a lot of detail, but some of it gets repetitive. I learned quite a bit and had not thought of how the bicycle may have helped the suffrage movement. I think that this book would have been much more enjoyable a little shorter and in less detail. The author obviously went to great pains to research this book.

  • Kimberly
    2018-11-21 22:00

    I read this for a paper I am presenting at a conference next winter. Turned out, I got more out of it than what I was looking for. It's a fascinating and complex true story about a woman who set out to cycle around the world in 1895. Annie was not a feminist, not even a "New Woman." What compelled her to go? What I found particularly interesting about the book was the issues that it raises with regard to being a woman.

  • CJ
    2018-11-30 00:44

    Annie “Londonderry” Cohen Kopchovsky, a 23 yr old Jewish mother, living in a tenement in 19th century Boston, bullshits her way into travelling around the world. Wish there was more source material; since there are no surviving diaries or letters the author does his best to fill in the gaps with speculation, newspaper articles about her journey, and stories about her contemporaries.

  • Heather
    2018-11-29 16:44

    An interesting woman, if not a role model. Annie's personality saves this book from the somewhat dry telling of her story. So glad the author took the time to dig up the few remaining details about her journey. I have found the subject of Women cyclists of this time to be fascinating one and hope people continue to write about them before the details are complete gone.

  • Jen
    2018-11-28 18:49

    I thought this would be the story of Nellie Bly on a bike. Unfortunately, the amount of biking that Londonderry did was far short of around the world. And this lady was no Nellie Bly. The book suffered from the inability to tell truth from lies and a somewhat disjointed narrative. It made me with I had read a different book about women bicyclists or biking in the 1890s.