Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

February 23, 2003|By Michael Pakenham

Harley-Davidson: The Complete History, edited by Patrick Hook, photographs by Garry Stuart. PRC Publishing, 448 pages $24.95.

Not long ago, on a summer's day, the waterside restaurant where I was lunching was invaded by more than 100 Harley-Davidson riders, geared up to their eyebrows and above. The thug who sat next to my table had this endearing label across the back of his leather jacket: "If you can read this, my pig fell off my hog." The lady of his apparent affection was heavily tattooed, and exhibited extravagant cleavage. After some trepidation, I elicited the truth that the thug was a pediatric orthodontist and his wife, a schoolteacher, washes her tats off at night. Whether the bulk of the Harley addicts of today are equally solid suburban middle-class fantasists, I cannot say. But whether brute or bourgeois, all should have this glorious tracing from the first single-cylinder motorbike, built in 1902, to the monsters of today. An intricate history, elaborately illustrated -- a coffee-table spectacular.

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