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on 19 August 2003
Tom Swift is an above average teenager living in 1910; he is an inventor, and the son of an inventor. Tom's excitement begins when he gets the chance to trade his bicycle for a motorcycle, but really takes off when a group of scoundrels set their sights on stealing Barton Swift's (Tom's father) newest invention. Using his mechanical acumen, Tom helps anyone at the mercy of a malfunctioning machine, and foils the plans of those who would steal his father's newest invention.
This book is a wonderful window on the United States of 1910. When reading this book, one is struck by the mechanics of Tom's motorcycle, the quality of roads, the organization of the police, and so much more. The story is fascinating, and yet easy to read.
And now for the bad news: this book contains an African-American character that is routinely referred to as a "darky". He is ill-educated, and speaks in an irritating Amos and Andy patter, "He was a tramp, an' he had de nerve to ask me fer money--me, a hard-wukin' coon."
So, while this is a generally a very good book, its racism is a bit much to take. Overall, I would recommend that you consider before purchasing it for younger readers, but that it is still a book worth reading.
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on 9 January 1999
The first in the series of Tom Swift books. Young Tom shows his bravery in outwitting the bad guys, love for his father in putting himself in peril to save his Dad's invention, and compassion and lack of prejudice by helping others in need. Excellent kids book, unless the reader is sensitive to how Blacks were portrayed in the early 1900's. Subsequent Tom Swift books were much more sensitive to the portrayal of old "Eradicate". I highly recommend this book and all of the Tom Swift books written up through the early 1970's.
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on 10 December 1998
This book was the first in a 38-book series of original boys' adventure volumes, published between 1910 and approx. 1938. The book's still a darn good read. Stolen patents, a villainous criminal gang, and Tom's genius in reworking a used motorcycle into the fastest machine on the road. This book is, I believe, a facsimile reprint of the original edition of this most interesting 1910 volume. Try it, you will like it. If you have some of the "boy" in you, anyway.
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