The Mens' Kick Line
Department of Mechanical Engineering Professor Emeritus David Gordon Wilson has written an extensive and highly entertaining memoir, The Mens’ Kick Line. This wide-ranging and copiously illustrated volume (photographs and black and white drawings abound) traces his life from his childhood in Britain through World War II and on to America and MIT.
The memoir is filled with personal family as well as professional anecdotes, serious conflicts, and moral stands that have often defined his entire life. Wilson, perhaps best known around the Institute for his pedaling of a recumbent bicycle, helped design the self-same Avatar-2000, which won the world speed record in 1982 and 1983. He is also the author of the best-selling Bicycling Science, among the additional eight books he has written or edited.
Prof. Wilson pulls no punches when describing some of the serious circumstances with which he has been involved while teaching at the Institute.
Some of his chapter titles include: “Battling the Hoodlums: Crime on Brattle Street,” “Politics and Wilsonomics,” and “The Death of Democracy in Massachusetts.”
At the beginning of the chapter specifically about experiences at MIT, “The Men’s Kick-Line at MIT, 1994–?” Wilson writes, “Some of this book has been about battles that I have had, mainly with men. In some of them I emerged victorious. In the following accounts, of a long campaign to help a young and totally blameless person who was targeted for virtual elimination by MIT tyranny, and of my most serious and by far the longest battle, rather like the Thirty Years War, are of times when I lost repeatedly and decisively.”
History, politics, and science intertwined with Wilson’s abundant personal experiences make this a fascinating life story.
The memoir is being offered free by download at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p11ew9syo4de1mc/xHqKJMHQ-A.