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The Devil's Wheels

During the high days of modernization fever, among the many disorienting changes Germans experienced in the Weimar Republic was an unprecedented mingling of consumption and identity: increasingly, what one bought signaled who one was. Exemplary of this volatile dynamic was the era's burgeoning motorcycle culture. With automobiles largely a luxury of the upper classes, motorcycles complexly symbolized masculinity and freedom, embodying a widespread desire to embrace progress as well as profound anxieties over the course of social transformation. Through its richly textured account of the motorcycle as both icon and commodity, The Devil's Wheels teases out the intricacies of gender and class in the Weimar years.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations Preface and Acknowledgements Introduction: Does the man make the motorcycle or the motorcycle the man? Abbreviations Chapter 1. From Pioneers to Global Dominance: The First Forty Years of the German Motorcycle Industry Chapter 2. Engineering and Advertising a Motorized Future Chapter 3. Motorcycles and the "Everyman": Exploring the Motorcycling Milieu Chapter 4. "Is Motorcycling Even Sport?";: Strength and the National Body during the Weimar Republic Chapter 5. Deviant Behaviors: Inclusion, Exclusion, and Community Chapter 6. Motoring Amazons?: Women and Motorcycling During the Weimar Republic Chapter 7. Sex and the Sidecar: Sexuality, Courtship, Marriage and Motorization Epilogue: The Will to Motor Appendix Bibliography Index

About the Author

Sasha Disko is a historian and independent scholar. She received her PhD in History from New York University, and she has been associated with the Center for Metropolitan Studies, Berlin, since 2008. Her research interests include motorization, industrialization, and leisure.


"Disko offers a new and exciting interpretation that challenges our understandings of gendered consumption, modernity, and the role that motorcycles played in defining and defending masculinity, femininity, and the nation during the interwar years." * Jennifer Lynn, Montana State University "This is a fascinating, engagingly written, and illuminating book that resonates well beyond its immediate national and historical context. Its exploration of the anxieties and opportunities surrounding identity in the Weimar Republic will be greeted enthusiastically by scholars in cultural history, mobility studies, gender studies, and a host of other interdisciplinary fields." * Cotten Seiler, Dickinson College

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