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Wheels of change : how women rode the bicycle to freedom (with a few flat tires along the way)

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Macy revisits a topic she touched on in her excellent Winning Ways: A Photohistory of American Women in Sports (1996) in this engaging look at the emancipating impact that bikes had on late-nineteenth-century U.S. women. The eye-catching chapters, filled with archival images of women perched sidesaddle on their �steel steeds� and racing furiously in bloomers on velocipedes, zero in on the profound ways that bicycles subverted traditional notions of femininity; according to one wary social commentator, �The bicycle is the devil�s advance agent morally and physically in thousands of instances.� A veteran nonfiction writer, Macy seamlessly weaves together research, direct quotes (sourced in an appendix that includes a time line and resource list), and historical overviews that put the facts into context, while sidebars expand on related topics, from �cycling songs� to standout female cyclists, including trailblazers Marie Curie and Annie Oakley. The narrow focus on cycling will open up broader thought and discussion about women�s history, making this a strong, high-interest choice for both classroom and personal reading�for adults, too. Grades 6-9. --Gillian Engberg

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