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On the morning of February 12, 1908, six cars from four different countries lined up in the swirling snow of Times Square, surrounded by a frenzied crowd of 250,000. The seventeen men who started the New York to Paris auto race were an international roster of personalities: a charismatic Norwegian outdoorsman, a witty French count, a pair of Italian sophisticates, an aristocratic German army officer, and a cranky mechanic from Buffalo, New York. President Theodore Roosevelt congratulated them by saying, “I like people who do something, not the good safe man who stays at home.” These men were doing something no man had ever done before, and their journey would take them very far from home.Their course was calculated at more than 21,000 miles, across three continents and six countries. It would cross over mountain ranges—some as high as 10,000 feet—and through Arctic freeze and desert heat, from drifting snow to blowing sand. Bridgeless rivers and seas of mud blocked the way, while wolves, bears, and bandits stalked vast, lonely expanses of the route. And there were no gas stations, no garages, and no replacement parts available. The automobile, after all, had been sold commercially for only fifteen years. Many people along the route had never even seen one.Among the heroes of the race were two men who ultimately transcended the others in tenacity, skill, and leadership. Ober-lieutenant Hans Koeppen, a rising officer in the Prussian army, led the German team in their canvas-topped 40-horsepower Protos. His amiable personality belied a core of sheer determination, and by the race’s end, he had won the respect of even his toughest critics. His counterpart on the U.S. team was George Schuster, a blue-collar mechanic and son of German immigrants, who led the Americans in their lightweight 60-horsepower Thomas Flyer. A born competitor, Schuster joined the U.S. team as an undistinguished workman, but he would battle Koeppen until the very end. Ultimately the German and the American would be left alone in the race, fighting the elements, exhaustion, and each other until the winning car’s glorious entrance into Paris, on July 30, 1908.Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12, 1908 . . . The crowds gathering on Broadway all morning were not out to honor Abe Lincoln, either. They were on the avenue to catch sight of the start of the New York-to-Paris Automobile Race. There would only be one—one race round the world, one start, and one particular way that, for the people who lived through it, the world would never be the same. The automobile was about to take it all on: not just Broadway, but the farthest reaches to which it could lead. On that absurdity, the auto was about to come of age.“By ten o’clock,” reported the Tribune, “Broadway up to the northernmost reaches of Harlem looked as though everybody was expecting the circus to come to town.” The excitement was generated by the potential of the auto to overcome the three challenges most frustrating to the twentieth century: distance, nature, and technology. First, distance: in the form of twenty-two thousand miles of the Northern Hemisphere, from New York west to Paris. Second, nature: in seasons at their most unyielding. And third, the very machinery itself, which would be pressed hard by the race to defeat itself. Barely twenty years old as a contraption and only ten as a practical conveyance, the automobile couldn’t reasonably be expected to be ready to take on the world. But there were men who were ready and that was what mattered.—From Race of the Century

Read Race of the Century by Julie M. Fenster

Race of the Century by Julie M. Fenster

published date : 2005-06-14
authors : Julie M. Fenster
publishers : Crown
genre : Transportation, Automotive, History, Sports & Recreation, Motor Sports, Modern, 20th Century
page count : 400
ISBN : 0307238490
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Race Of The Century


Race Of The Century

Author by : Julie M. Fenster
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2006-06-27
Publisher by : Broadway Books

ISBN :

Description : Capturing the determination and thrill of an era when technology made anything seem possible, this work tells the story of the death-defying New York-to-Paris Auto Race held in 1908. Photos....






Blood And Smoke


Blood And Smoke

Author by : Charles Leerhsen
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2012-05-22
Publisher by : Simon and Schuster

ISBN :

Description : One hundred years ago, 40 cars lined up for the first Indianapolis 500. We are still waiting to find out who won. The Indy 500 was created to showcase the controversial new sport of automobile racing, which was sweeping the country. Daring young men were driving automobiles at the astonishing speed of 75 miles per hour, testing themselves and their vehicles. With no seat belts, hard helmets or roll bars, the dangers were enormous. When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened in 1909, seven people were killed, some of them spectators. Oil-slicked surfaces, clouds of smoke, exploding tires, and flying grit all made driving extremely hazardous, especially with the open-cockpit, windshield-less vehicles. Bookmakers offered bets not only on who might win but who might survive. But this book is about more than a race--it is the story of America at the dawn of the automobile age, a country in love with speed, danger, and spectacle.--From publisher description....






The Spirit Of Invention


The Spirit Of Invention

Author by : Lemelson Center for the Study of Inventi
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2009-06-09
Publisher by : Harper Collins

ISBN :

Description : An illustrated appreciation of america's spirit of invention, which introduces unique characters whose insistence on change for the better made america what it is today The Spirit of Invention is a fascinating examination of innovation as a driving characteristic of Americans from all eras and all walks of life. In this book we meet Gertrude Forbes, a sickly widow so poor she had to live in her aunt's attic, who overcame the odds to invent, among other things, an adjustable ironing board cover. We follow Cromwell Dixon, a fifteen-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, whose dreams of finding a way to fly inspired him to invent a bicycle-powered airship. We see John Dove, an African-American inventor, originating concepts integral to the compact disc. We learn about Purdue University, one of the earliest educational institutions to promote invention and engineering ideas. We eavesdrop on Thomas Edison in his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, and also find out about the beginnings of film colorization, a controversial process that adds tint to film. And we read about Luther Burbank and how he revolutionized plant breeding. The book even reviews the invention of illegal devices such as the "light wand," which induced slot machines to pay out on every spin, and we are introduced to a poker player who invented a "holdout" that allowed him to conceal cards in a shirt sleeve during games. The Spirit of Invention is the tale of America's history of innovation, told in an engaging narrative style by a captivating historian and storyteller. Supported by a vast collection of archival material—photographs, newspaper clippings, and illustrations—Julie M. Fenster captures a group most Americans know nothing about: the dreamers and thinkers who found the need for a product, be it practical or fanciful, and saw it through to its creation. The book is an entirely fresh and fascinating examination of innovation as an innate force, inspiring unsung people to do magnificent things. In Fenster's own words, "Invention is more than just an occasional necessity for human beings; it is an impulse that helps to define the species. It emerges in the individual as a reaction to the splendid frustration of one's surroundings, a response as basic in most people as having children: to leave a mark and give a gift, perchance for the better, to the future." This is the inside story of the true innovators of our nation....






Race Of The Century


Race Of The Century

Author by : Julie M. Fenster
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2005
Publisher by : Crown

ISBN :

Description : Capturing the determination and thrill of an era when technology made anything seem possible, this work tells the story of the death-defying New York-to-Paris Auto Race held in 1908. Photos....






Parish Priest


Parish Priest

Author by : Douglas Brinkley
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2009-10-13
Publisher by : Harper Collins

ISBN :

Description : The first commercial, in-depth biography of the American-born Roman Catholic priest who may well be declared a saint. . . . “Delightful. . . . No magisterial biography emanating a suffocating aura of pomp and self-importance, this book is as low-key and as uplifting as Father Michael McGivney himself.”—Calgary Herald “Father McGivney’s vision remains as relevant as ever in the changed circumstances of today’s Church and society.”—Pope John Paul II In a time of discrimination and poverty for Catholics across America, Father Michael McGivney (1852-1890), began a legacy of hope that continues to this day. Called to action in 1882 by his sympathy for these suffering people, this dynamic yet tenderhearted man—the son of Irish immigrants— founded the Knights of Columbus, an organization that has saved countless families from destitution. At heart, Father McGivney was the model of an American parish priest: Beloved by children, trusted by adults, and regarded as a “positive saint” by the elderly in his New Haven, CT, parish—a truly holy man whose life and works are still celebrated today....






Fdr S Shadow


Fdr S Shadow

Author by : Julie M. Fenster
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2011-01-04
Publisher by : Macmillan

ISBN :

Description : A brilliant look at how the indomitable and enlightened Louis Howe became the mega-advisor of the Roosevelt Clan....






The Clamorgans


The Clamorgans

Author by : Julie Winch
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2011-05-24
Publisher by : Hill and Wang

ISBN :

Description : The historian Julie Winch uses her sweeping, multigenerational history of the unforgettable Clamorgans to chronicle how one family navigated race in America from the 1780s through the 1950s. What she discovers overturns decades of received academic wisdom. Far from an impermeable wall fixed by whites, race opened up a moral gray zone that enterprising blacks manipulated to whatever advantage they could obtain. The Clamorgan clan traces to the family patriarch Jacques Clamorgan, a French adventurer of questionable ethics who bought up, or at least claimed to have bought up, huge tracts of land around St. Louis. On his death, he bequeathed his holdings to his mixedrace, illegitimate heirs, setting off nearly two centuries of litigation. The result is a window on a remarkable family that by the early twentieth century variously claimed to be black, Creole, French, Spanish, Brazilian, Jewish, and white. The Clamorgans is a remarkable counterpoint to the central claim of whiteness studies, namely that race as a social construct was manipulated by whites to justify discrimination. Winch finds in the Clamorgans generations upon generations of men and women who studiously negotiated the very fluid notion of race to further their own interests. Winch's remarkable achievement is to capture in the vivid lives of this unforgettable family the degree to which race was open to manipulation by Americans on both sides of the racial divide....