The Harley-Davidson Story: Tales from the Archives


The story of Harley-Davidson is a classic American tale of spirit, invention, and the right idea at the right time. From its beginning in a small Milwaukee shed in 1903, William Harley and his cousins, the Davidson brothers, set in motion what would eventually become the world’s most iconic motorcycle company.

While other motorcycle companies rose and fell through the teens and 1920s, Harley went from strength to strength, whether introducing its first V-twin motor or dominating racetracks across America. The Milwaukee Miracle even prospered during WWII, building war bikes for the armed forces. By the 1950s, they’d buried their last American-built competitor, Indian, and gained a hold over the US market that they maintain to this day.

A remarkable story deserves a remarkable space to recount it. Such is the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, which opened in 2009. Harley-Davidson partnered with Motorbooks to create this book relaying Harley-Davidson’s story, as told through the museum’s displays and archive assets.


This is a book that shows you the complete history of the company, from the men who started it. Through the bikes and the many different changes over the years. To the color additions, through WWII and then some lean times after the war and the foreign competition that they have been up against and how they have had to overcome and change with the times. Who bringing in clothing was one way, but also by being the first motorcycle company with the electric starter when they were competing with Honda, for a bigger road motorcycle. There are many photographs from the museum and they coincide with the different time periods that the author is discussing along with advertisements also from that era. A very thorough history of the company form the original owners to when they were taken over and when they were bought back from AMF. Also a section with new designs and what is being looked at for the future of the company. A thorough and excellent book about the history of Harley- Davidson. Very much a must for anyone’s collection of the history of motorcycles or American companies. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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