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Born to Be WildThe Rise of the American Motorcyclist$
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Randy D. McBee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622729

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622729.001.0001

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Don’t Shoot the Easy Rider

(p.1) Introduction
Born to Be Wild

Randy D. McBee

University of North Carolina Press

This introductory chapter discusses the evolving image of the motorcyclist during the early half of the twentieth century, taking into account the cultural and historical factors that have shaped the postwar image of the motorcyclist as outlaws. Sensationalist portrayals in the media only account for a small portion of a much larger political machine that had churned out the motorcycle culture as it is recognized today—be it through the influence of the 1969 movie Easy Street or via postwar anxieties, but especially through the 1947 motorcycle rally in the sleepy town of Hollister, California. The increasing attention motorcyclists received at Hollister came in the wake of nearly two decades of nationwide instability and uncertainty characterized by massive unemployment, dislocation, and war.

Keywords:   Easy Street, postwar anxieties, 1947 motorcycle rally, Hollister, twentieth century, motorcycle culture

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