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Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride [Paperback]

Zheutlin , Peter
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Nov 2008
When Annie Londonderry, Jewish wife and mother of three, departed from the Boston State House, travelling with only a change of clothes and a pearl-handled revolver, she was actually embarking upon a journey that would embody three of the most powerful social movements of the 1890s: the women's movement for social equality, the bicycle craze, and globalisation. This amazing account of Annie's astounding journey is a rambunctious adventure which is just as sure to appeal to fans of Verne's Around the World in 80 Days as it is to devotees of Sylvia Plath and Gloria Steinem.

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Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride + Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: CITADEL; Reprint edition (7 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806530669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806530666
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 764,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure story 7 Nov 2013
By ickle
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book as Christmas gifts my friends enjoy stories about real life adventures and when I saw this on the amazon list I thought it would be a good read for them
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3.0 out of 5 stars Annie Londonderry 27 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I worked in a hotel, someone had a book by their bed about someone( a woman) travelling by bicycle from Ireland around the world. I couldn't help a quick peek and have tried to find the book so that i could read it, this isn't it and is not nearly as interesting as the book i am still trying to find
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full of surprises. 24 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As I read about the first man to cycle around the world I wondered how a woman could cope with the desert, bad roads, fording streams etc. However the book encompasses a lot more than cycling and may disappoint someone just wanting a cycle journal. It's full of surprises. Who she was? Why was she doing it? Some journalists cast doubt on her version. How she managed as a newcomer to cycling, not knowing "the ropes". The first two chapters as she starts off are worth the book's price in my opinion. And to add further to the quest she is wagered to start with no money and come back with $10,000,. So it's a good book for fund raisers also!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Two wheels, two books 11 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A chance remark in another book (Penn's It's All About The Bike) led me to want to know more about Annie Londonderry. The first half of this book is all about her, and she was a fascinating and complex character. At times it got a little repetitive but when you're dealing with facts and real people, that's always a danger.
Halfway through, her story ends, and the book becomes something else - which I'll not spoil - but it took me by surprise, delighted me and made the whole book worth it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Around the World on Two Wheels 20 Nov 2008
By J. Dalquist - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I agree with the other reviewers that Annie Londonderry's story is one of a charming, brash, lying, self-promoting, scoundrel whose adventure meshed with, if not influenced, feminism, freedom of dress, and use of the bicycle by women. However, there is constant repetition of Annie as a charming, brash, lying, self-promoting --etc. etc. etc. (Get the picture?) Many times I said, "Enough already. I know that. Get on with the story." Relating an incident speaks for itself. There is no need to add after each that she was a charming, brash, etc. etc. Some of the information included in the epilogue, the afterword, and the appendix (is there a need for all three?)could have been included within the text, substituting for the redundancy, and explaining in greater depth Annie's personality and interaction with her family. The changing social customs of the period and the history of bicycling tied with Annie's antics would be a better read without the padding. I appreciated the bibliography and notes.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A FUN, INTERESTING AND EDUCATIONAL BOOK. It has Insight, Fashion, Women's Liberation, 19th Century Social History, Sports, 3 Nov 2007
By LORNE SHIELDS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
WHAT A FUN, INTERESTING AND EDUCATIONAL BOOK. It has Insight, Fashion, Women's Liberation, 19th Century Social History, Sports, Achievement, and so much more. The research Mr. Zheutlin did amazes me. On a personal note I research early cycling history and have done so for almost 40 years. His facts are accurate and he has found so much new material that it is hard to explain my amazement. If you are looking for a good read, interesting photographs, a different subject, amazing insight and a tour of the last part of the 19th Century, this is your book. You'll enjoy it!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Next Book Club Selection! 14 Nov 2007
By Janet Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This true story of Annie (Kopchovsky)Londonderry is an exhilarating and fascinating romp through history with a companion the reader can't help but admire for her gumption, cleverness, and determination.

Annie was the first woman to ride her bicycle around the world, possibly as part of a contest. It's just as likely, however, that she fabricated an excuse to travel because she felt claustrophobic, trapped within the societal constraints placed on women during the Victorian era. The author, Peter Zheutlin, writes Annie's story with tenderness (he's a descendent of Annie's, but I suspect he would do so regardless), yet also with appropriate skepticism and rich historical detail. (Read the endnotes!)

While following in the wake of her fierce independence and almost reckless energy, the reader also explores the impact Annie's journey had on the advancement of women's rights, as well as uncomfortable questions it posed about traditional roles - including her own role as wife and mother.

I'm recommending "Around the World on Two Wheels" for my book club selection next month. We'll have plenty of issues to discuss, and we'll get to do so in the company of one incredibly memorable character -- Annie Londonderry.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Story 31 Jan 2009
By Jared Austin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I agree with the other reviewers that the story of Annie Londonderry's bike trip is both interesting and noteworthy--regardless of how much of it was actually fictitious. Obviously, for a woman in the late 19th century to go on a 15 month adventure around the world, be it by train, boat, bike or foot, remains an amazing feat, and deserves respect for the stereotypes it broke, and the countless young women it undoubtedly inspired. My only criticism of the book was that it was written in a somewhat choppy format, and didn't seem to flow very smoothly. This was probably due to the choppy, inconsistent nature of Annie's trip, and the accounts that went into piecing the story together. One of the most interesting parts of the book came in the Afterword, when the author explains his personal connection to Annie, and the research and efforts he had to undertake to tell her story. I wish he could've found a way to weave his own story into hers throughout the book. Finally, as an individual who biked across America in the late 1990s, I found her tales of hospitality from complete strangers along the road, a nice reminder of all the wonderful people we met on our own trip. Indeed, though a century has passed, the kindness of strangers toward adventurous souls remains happily unchanged.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, boring book 7 Jan 2009
By G. W. Stebbins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The background material is fascinating and in the hands of a novelist or more talented journalist, it might have made an entertaining book. As treated here, with a great deal of editing, it could have made a nice feature story. The approach is journalistic, a chronology of facts, mostly where Annie was when, what hotels she stayed in (by far thoroughly documented part of the account), who she had contact with, and a very few impressions of her recorded by contemporaries, and tedious repetitions of how plucky, brash, etc (maybe ten adjectives total) she must have been to have made the appearances and impressions she did and covered the ground she did. The best parts of the book, besides the bare facts themselves, were the author's account of his own relationship with her and his own story of discovery. At least it had some life and the people some dimension and reality. A fictionalized account might have given these qualities to the protagonist, but the journalist's preference for just the facts or perhaps a familial reverence which prohibited any liberties with them, leaves this a very flat and repetitious account with little life to it
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