Stuart Barker's definitive biography captures the super-star status that Knievel held and also examines the marketing phenomenon of a man who once boasted he ‘made $60 million and blew $63 million’.
Born in the town of Butte, Montana in 1938, Robert Craig Knievel was an outstanding athlete, ski jumper and ice hockey player at school. His early jobs included working in the copper mines and driving a bus as well as a stint in the US Army, but he always subsidised his income through crime ('I could crack a safe with one hand tied behind my back quicker than you could eat a hamburger with two.')
He used bikes to escape from the police and eventually hit upon the idea of jumping them after seeing a stunt driver jump cars at a state fair. His first jump took place over two mountain lions and a box of rattlesnakes, and he soon developed his act into the 'Evel Knievel Motorcycle Daredevils' before embarking on a solo career.
Knievel suffered 37 breaks and fractures during his daredevil career. In 1967 he spent 29 days in a coma after an attempt to jump over the fountains outside Caesar's Palace casino in Las Vegas. While recovering, he decided to make his goal to jump the Grand Canyon, an attempt he was forced to abort by the US Government; and later was paid $1 million for jumping over 13 double-decker buses at Wembley Stadium.
Now, a quarter of a century after he last stepped off a motorcycle, he has been reborn as the originator of Xtreme sports. This, alongside his love of gambling, women and drinking, ensure his legend will live forever. Life of Evel is the story of a truly extreme personality.
Evel Knievel was a high-flying daredevil, the father of extreme sports, the personification of excitement and danger and showmanship . . . and in the 1970s Knievel represented a unique slice of American culture and patriotism. His jump over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace led to a crash unlike anything ever seen on television, and his attempt to rocket over Snake River Canyon in Idaho was something only P. T. Barnum could have orchestrated. The dazzling motorcycles and red-white-and-blue outfits became an integral part of an American decade. Knievel looked like Elvis . . . but on any given Saturday afternoon millions tuned in to the small screen to see this real-life action hero tempt death.
But behind the flash and the frenzy, who was the man? Bestselling author Leigh Montville masterfully explores the life of the complicated man from the small town of Butte, Montana. He delves into Knievel’s amazing place in pop culture, as well as his notorious dark side—and his complex and often contradictory relationships with his image, the media, his own family, and his many demons. Evel Knievel’s story is an all-American saga, and one that is largely untold. Leigh Montville once again delivers a definitive biography of a one-of-a-kind sports legend.
From the Hardcover edition.
What was the reality behind the myth? Through interviews with the surviving members of the Boozefighters, current member Bill Hayes and club historian Jim “JQ” Quattlebaum take readers right into the fray for a firsthand account of what happened in Hollister, and the formation of the Boozefighters, where the outlaw biker culture truly began. The book, “with its great stories and entertaining real-life characters” (MotorcycleUSA.com), is “mandatory reading for anyone interested in American motorcycling history “(Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly).
“Live to ride, ride to live.” For many motorcycle riders, these words express life’s guiding principle. Just take a look at the patch emblazoned on the jackets of legions of riders. Whether they’re roaring down an empty highway on two wheels at an insane speed, hopping on for a few mind-boggling loops of motocross, joining in the “rolling thunder” of a veritable outlaw motorcycle club, or just cruising on a Harley on a Sunday afternoon, motorcyclists of all stripes share a common love of the freedom that is riding.
Wayne Johnson, a lifelong motorcycle-lover and acclaimed writer, takes us around the globe and onto the terrain where the most extreme, thrilling forms of riding happen. Johnson shows where it all began more than a hundred years ago when the first motorcycle evolved from the bicycle and lands us on the track today with some of the world’s highest-paid athletes— professional motorcycle road racers. From there we go inside radically different competitions like the vertigo-inspiring “Widowmaker Hillclimb” and the fastest land racing on the planet at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Johnson also offers an inside look at the legendarily secretive culture of biker clubs with firsthand accounts of his own wild rides with an outlaw club. In every one of these venues, you aren’t just passing through as an observer—you are on a bike, racing across new and undiscovered country, the horizon your only destination.
If you have ever wondered what it’s like to climb on a motorcycle and feel its engine roar to life, or have actually done it and felt the rush of flying off into the wild blue yonder, or have simply been intrigued by this iconic part of American culture and history, hold on tight for this irresistible, one-of-a-kind journey into motorcycling.
Valentino Rossi, nine-time world champion
Marc Márquez is a phenomenon in the world of motorsports. In his first season in MotoGP, at the tender age of 20, he achieved the extraordinary by becoming the youngest world champion ever. He’s currently dominating in his second season, and is set to become the greatest the sport has ever seen.
In his first official biography - fully-illustrated with many unseen photographs - Marc offers an exclusive insight into his first year racing in the premier class and his historic championship win. Through the words of his team, his family and his rivals for the title, we begin to understand the answer to his remarkable success.
It’s the story of Marc’s greatest risks and challenges, from vision problems that put a halt on his career to the huge crash in May that saw him flying off his bike at a staggering speed of 175 mph. But Marc continues to rewrite history, earning titles with his fearless racing and winning fans with his boyish charm and famous smile – and smashing every record along the way.
Growing up at the time of the assassination of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Freddie judged by feel, not by colour. Blind to prejudice and discrimination, he formed dynamic connections with people and events, but only years later during his racing afterlife could Freddie come to understand the true power of the things he learned.
Spencer is an articulate and compassionate guide as he describes the thrill and horror of racing in an era when death was a perennial threat. He recalls in pin-sharp detail the frenetic high-octane racing duels with the ‘King’ Kenny Roberts, but also describes a parallel internal journey as he struggled to make sense of it all.
Driven by a search for the personal fulfilment that comes through finding your purpose, Freddie’s story is a universal one. In its message of hope, Feel transcends its genre to offer a story for everyone. Part thriller, part philosophical self-exploration, it is a remarkably insightful account of what it is like to have it all, but wonder why.
“For the first time I will talk about the traumas of my childhood, the contrast between the leaf fire burns, the mistrust and discomfort and the peace and purpose I felt when riding my bike. I didn’t tell my parents about something that happened to me. Why? I felt ashamed, but when I rode I felt connected to everything and the pain in my hand and heart would go away. It gave me the feeling of hope”.
John McGuinness is one of the all-time giants of road racing, with a huge host of victories to his name. But his easy humour and down-to-earth attitude off the bike have always kept people guessing: what’s the truth about the man inside the helmet, that has kept him at the top of such a sport for over 20 years?
His autobiography tells the whole story, from his humble beginnings in Morecambe and getting his first bike at the age of 3, to working as a bricklayer and cockle fisherman before deciding to follow his dream, and finally to his many victories in the most dangerous sporting event on the planet. He tells of what it takes to be a champion in such an exacting sport, and to keep winning even though all logic tells you to stop – and when so many of your fellow racers are paying the ultimate price for doing it. This thrilling autobiography gets into the head of the man who stares death in the face, and doesn’t even flinch.
Michael Dunlop is quite simply the greatest road racer on the planet, with racing in his blood. For the first time he has agreed to talk in depth about his family story, how he got involved in 'the family business' and how he manages to keep getting back on his bike despite all he knows of the deadly risks he encounters every time he crosses the start line.
The death of his uncle during a competition in Estonia in 2000 was followed just eight years later by the death of his father at the North West 200. But despite these tragic losses Michael was undeterred, and continued to compete to join his father and uncle in the record books.
With thirteen TT wins to his name Michael is a phenomenal competitor, and in this sensational autobiography he reveals the controversy of dramatically switching teams, growing up part of a motorcycle racing dynasty and the journey that made him the incredible racing driver he is today.
Sonny Barger is the number-one spokesman for the motorcycle experience. His New York Times bestseller, Hell's Angel, was an exhilarating history of his adventures with the world's most notorious motorcycle club. Now he brings us rousing, moving, and wildly entertaining true stories of his renegade brothers and sisters in the relentless pursuit of liberty, individuality, and the "ultimate ride."
And what stories he has to tell -- freewheeling, bare-knuckle tales of brawls and battles, brotherhood, breathtaking adventures, crazy quests, and the inevitable classic scrapes with "John Law." The most colorful legends and unforgettable characters of biker lore come alive in this book. In addition, celebrities like Steve McQueen, Johnny Paycheck, and David Crosby thunder through these pages in a sensational collection of rebel tales that runs the gamut from poignant and inspiring to thrilling and utterly outrageous.
Whether you ride, have never ridden, or dream of riding, Ridin' High, Livin' Free is a reading experience you won't soon forget -- a fascinating glimpse into a unique culture of freedom that recognizes only one commandment: the code of the road.