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Volume 2

Explorations in Mobility

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The Devil's Wheels

Men and Motorcycling in the Weimar Republic

Sasha Disko

374 pages, 26 illus., 8 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-169-5 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (August 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-170-1 eBook

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“Sasha Disko’s study provides a treasure trove of exciting themes for those interested in leisure time activities, gender, consumption but also interactions between the state, through the police, and the motorcyclists on the streets in Weimar Germany.” • German History

“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


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.

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.

Subject: 20th Century History Gender Studies
Area: Germany


List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements

Introduction: Does the man make the motorcycle or the motorcycle the man?


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


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