New Book, The Devil’s Wheels …, Featured at the Hopkins Collection

Nov 08, 2016 View Comments by

Sasha Disko

I was fortunate enough to be one of the 31 people invited recently to The Hopkins Collection BMW Motorcycle Museum to hear a presentation by Sasha Disko about her new book, The Devil’s Wheels: Men and Motorcycling in the Weimar Republic. Sasha (an American who lives in Germany) explained to the audience of BMW fanatics that her project started out as an academic exploration of “… the relationship between consumption practices and the construction of modern German masculinities.”

Although the initial research focus was on automobiles, it soon became evident that only the wealthy could afford cars after World War I; motorcycles were the primary form of individual motorized transport during the Weimar Republic years. The book also presents a fascinating deep dive into the German male’s desire to regain a strong sense of masculinity in the post-WWI period. The price of motorcycles remained much lower than cars, because there was no German equivalent of the Ford Model T, which was made affordable by the production line process. Consequently, there were hundreds of motorcycle manufacturers in Germany during those years.

The book is on my nightstand and I can’t wait to get started.

Text and Photography: James T. Parks


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