At the Creation: Myth, Reality, and the Origin of the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, 1901-1909

By Herbert Wagner

Paperback: $24.95

ISBN: 978-0-87020-351-0

258 pages, 170 b/w photos & illus., 1 map, 8 x 9"


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"At the Creation" by Herbert Wagner brings to life the human side of Harley-Davidson's quest to motorize the bicycle and then to promote it as a powerful, fast, reliable, and thrilling means of personal transportation.

This book examines the origins of two-wheeled transportation from a time when combining the gasoline engine with the bicycle was the province of dreamers and con men. This is the definitive account of the beginnings of the only American motorcycle brand to ultimately succeed and survive.

Backed by a decade of research, "At the Creation" documents for the first time the early years of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle in its birthplace of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an area that was an early center of motorcycle manufacturing. Previous books on Harley-Davidson have failed to adequately cover this critical period, which has been described as the "era of mystery" by Harley-Davidson company historian Martin Jack Rosenblum.

"At the Creation" takes on several long-standing puzzles and myths, and then, through the use of period documents and original photographs, recreates the actual events of Harley's first years as they most plausibly occurred.

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Herbert Wagner is a recognized authority on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. He has written or contributed to five other books and has published many articles on the subject. He recently contributed to "Forbes" magazine's special Harley-Davidson 100 year anniversary publication. He has also served as a consulting historian for Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc.'s Annual Reports. The author is an active motorcycle rider and has restored several older Harleys to original vintage condition.