*The following post is an update to: Flat Out!10/26/2007
Now that I've finished reading this book and listening to its accompanying audio CD, I feel certain that this is a landmark book that "motor-sickel nuts" and history buffs will want in their libraries. Although I can't talk cams, compression ratios, fuels or displacements, I found it very interesting. I'm a fan of its author, motorcyle historian Jerry Hatfield. I've also become a Rollie Free fan. Whatta guy! Its beautiful illustrations and audio footage of his final interview help tell Rollie's story as he deserved to have it told. If you're a Harley-Davidson enthusiast, you'll understand after reading the book why Rollie devoted his entire life to beating Harley with speed.
- My nephew, Scott Hatfield, received his copy back in August and has lots more to say about his dad's book on his own blog at I GOT MINE!
- Gotta see it! The Rollie Free Book has its own blogspot on which Jerry has posted a number of previously-unpublished photos and memorabilia that I think are a testament to his dedication to Rollie's story.
- A celebrity plug: Jerry has many fans, including Jay Leno, who recently recommended this book in a video entitled Vincent Black Shadow.
- And a review so good it could sell anything: Motohistory editor Ed Youngblood, who describes Jerry as the greatest single contributor to motorcycle history, helped push him out of "author retirement" to write this book. Ed has placed Jerry's book in the top spot among his Found in Print reviews (for which you'll need to scroll down to Ed's 10/6/2007 entry). This excerpt from Ed's descriptive review is just too good to not share:
"Rather than spin out a historical narrative in his own words, Hatfield has acted more like Free's editor, providing the context in which Free, with the help of his contemporaries, can tell his own story. Through this technique, the personality as well as the history of Rollie Free comes through, vividly."
2011 update: Although I'm unable to date this engaging article, Jerry evidently wrote it sometime after publication of Flat Out: