Indian Riders - Book Reviews
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Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last
Book Reviews


From time to time something special comes along that we think might be of interest to Indian enthusiasts. Here we review some of these books and try and negotiate a discount for club members interested in purchasing the books:

British Wall of Death

British Wall of Death

British Wall of Death

British Wall of Death

British Wall of Death 1929 - 1939
By Ann Wright & Alan Mercer
ISBN 978-1-80068-593-2 Published July 2022

In the summer of 1929, the English Showman Charles More introduced to the Great British public a sensational motorcycle act which would be seen all over the country in fairgrounds and exhibition spaces.
Initially his riders were American and South African. Advertising including a letter of recommendation from celebrity land speed record holder Malcolm Campbell. The crowds would queue to see and hear a noisy performance of motorcycles within a wooden drum riding vertically. The venue had tiered viewing access for the spectators. Without the use of wires or magnets, gravity would hold the riders both male and female as they rode around its steep straight up walls.
The act would be copied by other showmen with British riders learning the art and within three years the name Wall of Death would be used by everyone to describe the act.
By 1933 practically every fairground in the country had received a visit from a Wall of Death.
Some events even had more than one wall attending. An added attraction to the act would be the use of animals, sidecars and cars.
This would be the peak of its popularity but it would continue through and beyond World War Two to the present day.
This book covers the first ten years history of this act in Great Britain.
Included in this book is a chapter on trick riding with a scoring system for the described tricks edited by one of the world's best ever trick riders, Danny Varanne.
One chapter describes how to ride the Wall of Death and this is described by Jerry De Roye, Guinnes World Record Holder as the World's Oldest Rider

The book can be purchased online from One Tree Books in Petersfield, Price £10.99 + P&P. it is also on Ebay with International postage and also on Amazon in the UK

Daredevil Alma Daredevil Alma

Daredevil Alma

Daredevil Alma
A Wall of Death Scrapbook 1929 - 1998
By Alan Mercer
ISBN 9781838537593

Ellen Alma Morley would become one of the first women in the UK to ride the wooden drum on a motorcycle called the Wall of Death. Her adventure began in her home town of Skegness with the entrepreneur Billy Butlin. She most famously rode using the name Daredevil Alma. Her own riding career ran from 1929 - 1940. She toured the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, she saved personal letters, posters, photographs and even business cards. Her collection extended to material from many other riders. Some time after Alma retired from riding she compiled a large scrapbook but continued collecting anything relating to the Wall of Death. There were additions to this archive right up to 1989. This book includes almost all her collated material in chronological order. 360 + photos, newspaper articles and posters, 166 pages.
This book is only available from One Tree Books £19:95 + p&p  
One Tree Books,7 Lavant Street, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU32 3EL
Tel: 01730 261199
Wall of Death

Both of my latest A5 sized books (sold together) inc p&p UK £20, Europe £24.95 and Rest of the world £28.65
These will not be available on Ebay, Amazon or in book shops and have plenty of Indians within their pages.
Payable only by Paypal to

Please tick "Friends and Family" and add your NAME and ADDRESS for delivery.

Wall of Death- Pioneers, 145 pages covering developments leading to the Wall of Death in the first 30 years of the 20th Century. More than 250 photos.

Wall of Death - Riders Register A-Z, 137 pages listing 2,500 names with 5,135 variations recorded alphabetically and 128 photos.
Attached photos are Dorothy Stone from the Wall of Death - Pioneers and Jagath Perera from the Wall of Death - Riders Register A-Z
Cheers Alan Mercer

Wildwood 38

Wildwood 38

WILDWOOD 38 by Alan Mercer

Alan Mercer;s new book called "Wildwood 38" - The Most Famous Liondrome in the World - The Dobish and Dare Story. This large paperback will come boxed by post at £15 for Indian Riders club members (retail is £19.95)  plus £5  p&p payable by Paypal to If you would like it signed then add a note with your address.
This book has Ford and Studebaker Specials, Excelsiors and Indian Scouts. The real story of the most famous lion in the world riding the Wall of Death, other Sideshow acts and a land speed record car. With one exception all 150+ photographs are from the American Joe Dobish’s personal album and cover the period between the wars.

For further information about the book go to Wildwood 38 on Facebook or my website


I contacted Alan and placed an order then eagerly awaited its arrival, it was delivered very quickly. The first impression of the book was its good size and quality. The book is an easy read full of interesting facts relating to the Dobish and Dare families with excellent photos within. There are lots of images as unseen before, a personal journey through their lives with fascinating insight into the carny people of the time. This book is a visual feast for wall and Indian enthusiasts alike.

Garry Sweatland

Wall of Death

I thought you might be interested in the book I have just published

about the 12 members of my family who were wall of death riders/owners

Between them they had dozens of Indians and the book has a lot of

photos of them on their bikes.  They appeared all over the country

and abroad.

Please see the attachment.

The book now has a 5 star rating on Amazon.

Ann Wright          Wall of Death Historian

Franklin Indians Franklin's Indians: Irish motorcycle racer Charles B Franklin, designer of the Indian Chief (2nd edition)
By: Harry Havelin (Author), Timothy Pickering (Author), Liam Diamond (Author), Harry V. Sucher (Author). Available at WH Smith £20.40

Indian Motorcycles




INDIAN MOTOCYCLES (Michael Decker Photo Collection) by Thomas Bunt
A great book, a limited edition publication. A collection of original photographs of Indian Motocycles and the people who rode, used and raced them. Price 49 Euros plus postage. This book is in German but the important information, dates, bikes etc is easily understood.

Product Details:
Hardback 200 photos
Size: 297 x 210 mm
ISBN: 978-3-00-034040-6

MURDERDROME by Thomas Bunt
A great book packed full of original photos, detailing the start of the board track and cement track racing in France & Germany in 1900 and later in the USA around 1909. A limited number of books are available. Price 69 Euros plus postage. This book is in German with some English but if you dont read German you will still enjoy the book.

Product Details:
Hardback 320 pages Colour
Size: 280 x 280 mm
ISBN: 978-3-00-041509-8

To order these books you can visit the website, where more sample pages are available to view: or email

Enrique Pontolillo

El Hombre del Millon de Kilomtros en Moto
The amazing Story of the Harley Davidson Dealer from Lima/Peru By Uwe N. Illgner and Egbert  F. Eschenbacher.

This is a wonderful book written by Uwe Illgner. Uwe bought this shop in South America and discovered innumerable records, papers clippings and photographs of Enrique Pontolillo who turned out to be a real Harley Davidson enthusiast. He wrote the story of this man and wanted to share all the things he had found. It a beautiful book full of amazing pictures which he wanted to share with everyone.

The cost of the book is 89 Euros plus postage. It would make a wonderful Christmas present.
Contact Uwe Illgner on

You Cant Wear Out an Indian Scout

You Can't Wear Out an Indian Scout

Another offering by Allan Ford & Nick Corble. Recommended Price is £19.99.

Product Details:
Paperback 96 pages (November 2, 2009)
Publisher: Amberley Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 1848680945

Franklin Indians

Franklin's Indians

This is a quality, hardback volume all about the man who designed the Indian Scout and Chief, and was a superb Irish racer in the pioneering era of motorcycling coming 2nd to Godfrey in the 1911 TT .

" . this lavishly illustrated book, whilst concentrating on Franklin, reveals a lot more of the company's history than other works. A fascinating read shedding light not only on sport at the turn of the last century but also the development of the internal combustion engine after the first world war.thanks to some real detective work and the publication of this important work Franklin's true impact on motorcycling in general can be seen by all.a must read for all Indian fans.a quality work well presented." Ian Kerr writing for Inter-Bike

Product Details: Hardback, (192 x 248mm or 8 x 10in approx) , 353 pages, 140 colour and b&w illustrations, Recommended Retail Price £34.00

ISBN 978-0-9564975-5-0

Riding The Wall








Riding the Wall of Death

The renowned Wall rider Allan Ford has got together with writer Nick Corbie to produce the first comprehensive history of the Wall, drawing upon Allan's detailed knowledge of this unique attraction, as well as interviews with a number of current and past riders to produce 'Riding the Wall of Death', due out this June published by Tempus Publishing.

In the book Allan and Nick tell of the men and machines behind the Wall, including the great Indian Scout, how the Wall has entered entertainment folklore and the innovations used to stand out from the crowd, ranging from the cylindrical Globe of Death to the use of cars and go-kails.

The book is packed full of photos, many of them in colour, some of which go back to before the Great War and few of which have ever been published before. This promises to be a 'must buy' for anyone with an interest in Indians, the Wall, motorbike history or just anyone who wants to relive the magic of flying around a vertical wooden wall!

Product Details:
Paperback 160 pages (June 1, 2006)
Publisher: Tempus Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 0752437917

Indian Motorcycles


By Jerry Hatfield & Hans Halberstadt

An excellent book which covers all the models and much of the history of Indian Motorcycles. This is an ideal gift for the enthusiast or prospective Indian buyer.


Burt Monroe






by Tim Hanna

Here is the amazing story of Kiwi motorcycling legend, backyard engineering genius, and land speed record holder Burt Munro. Munro was the archetypal eccentric inventor.

He took an original Indian motorbike and modified it in his shed so it became capable of extreme speeds.

From small town New Zealand in the 1920s to heroic accomplishments in the USA, Munro was still inventing up until his death in 1978.

The life story of Burt Munro is one of triumph over limitation, achievement against all odds.

6" x 9", soft cover, 308 pages, profusely illustrated with black & white and colour photographs.



by Stephen Wright

Here is another book recommended by our Club Secretary. There are hundreds of spectacular black and white and color photographs, the majority of which have never been published before. They enable the reader to follow the evolution of the American motorcycle during its most diverse period of development, 1869-1914.

“An American in Paris – The Story of the Indian 74 Model 340”

The book tells the real and true story of the order of the batch of 5,000 motorcycles with sidecar by the French Army in October 1939. The motorcycles were designed based on the brand new Model 340, especially designed for the modelyear 1940 in order to compete with their main rival Harley-Davidson. This huge French order saved Indian Motocycle Company (IMC) and raised the company to the financial summit in its whole existence (1901 – 1953).

The very first Model 340 “CAV’s” (Continental Army Version) arrived in France in December 1939 and were immediately incorporated in the units. The deliveries went on, even after 10 May 1940, as the German Wehrmacht invaded the Lowlands and some later France. In France, the Model 340 were also in use with the Polish unit (they fled from Poland after the German invasion of September 1939) under the command of general Maczek. The Germans immediately drafted hundreds of brand new Indian’s and made extensive use of these beautiful machines in their motorized units.

This unique book counts 324 pages and is richly ïllustrated: 947 never published pictures and illustrations. The book comes in A4 format, has a hardcover and the ISBN: 90-805639-3-3.

Diary Diary


Sybil De Bidaph        Sybil         

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Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last  
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