Book Reviews & Comments

by MikeH on May 6, 2011

Book cover for Motorcylces Planes and Revolution

This Blog thread is for folks who have read the book Motorcycles, Planes, & Revolution to leave comments or reviews of the book – for others to read.  Please feel free to use the space at the end of the comments to share your own thoughts.

If you have not yet purchased the book, use the tab above to “Buy The Book”.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Dean Coss February 28, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Mike, I just finished reading your book and I got to hand it to you, it sure looks like you put some serious research into your book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I probably got a better view of the historical
aspects than I did years ago in high school when I never paid attention in history class. I was amazed when I saw the Noah Pratt plane in person at the latest tool meet and fascinated on the historical background that you covered on it and other plane makers in the book. Congrats on a job well done and I am looking forward to another book on the subject if you ever decide to publish another.

MikeH February 20, 2015 at 2:11 pm

From Peter G: YOU DID A GREAT JOB WITH THE BOOK! It’s beautifully put together and I’m really enjoying it. You’ve written it so that the reader is drawn right into the scene. I could feel the wind in my face and the thrill of riding your motorcycle and felt like I was part of the experience. You also described the Revolutionary action so vividly that it was like I was there when it happened. I’ve also learned a lot about the Revolution that I never knew, and I’m only about a third of the way through the book. Also, I think you’ve done an excellent job explaining the history of planes and the people who made them and used them. It’s all very informative, very interesting and wonderfully written. I congratulate you.

Maureen Marek February 23, 2014 at 6:58 pm

I’ve read your book twice, once was not enough – just love it:
·It really made me think on so many levels, bringing out both emotions as well as thoughtful intellect and revisiting our history FINALLY written in an interesting way (I hated History Class because it was just memorize dates bla bla bla…) Yes, too bad they do not present quality reading such as this in school!!!
·Your way of twining the story from beginning to end was so uniquely different. To say it was interesting is not doing it justice, i.e., I love your style of writing.
·Such depth of feeling/profound opinions delivered eloquently

Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes July 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Dear Michael and Dee…Congratulations on your book, which is a wonderful blend of personal and national history, as unique as one of the pieces that you, or one of those plane makers might have crafted. Since one of the planes you picture was a gun-stock plane, I couldn’t help but wonder if, and how many, of the guns that were fired to win those hard-won victories, might have been planed by that very plane. There are so many linkages in the book that make it well worth reading more than once.

I hope you will send a copy to the Keno brothers, who pride themselves as specialists in early American furniture. I am sure that you have gathered information that they can learn from.

I will save more comments for direct email to the author, but as a fellow newly elected member of the Friends of the Wisconsin State Historical Society, I add personal to professional well-wishes.
Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes, Ph.D.
Wabeno Public Library
Wabeno, WI

Jack Kilroy January 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I want to thank you for your book.I have just now finished it and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I am including some information on the Puritans which you may find interesting.
Hopefully the link works or just copy and paste.
Maybe we might see each other on the road someday.
Don’t forget to wave.

heather l. December 12, 2012 at 1:53 am

I feel a bit stupid! Sorry, by planes I thought you meant airplanes, I haven’t read the book yet! However, I still can’t wait to give my Dad the book because his father was a carpenter/furniture maker, so it still completely relates to him. As I said, I’ll come back & let you know how much we liked the book. Happy Holidays

heather l. December 12, 2012 at 1:39 am

hi Mike, I stumbled across your website while trying to come up with ideas for my Dad’s 70th birthday party. He’s a longtime Harley rider (& owner), & he took hours of flying lessons in hopes of getting his pilot’s license, but cost-wise that final goal hasn’t been possible. He’s a war & history buff too, so your book seems like something that he would just love, combining all of his loves, so I’m going to make your book a Christmas gift. I can’t wait to hear what he thinks about it, I’ll come back & let you know. Merry Christmas!

Peter Ferrigan October 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Dear Mr. Hanley, Can’t begin to tell you how much I just enjoyed reading your book. We are kindred spirits to say the least. I ride a 2000FLSTC , I am a history buff with a slight lean toward Civil War era.
At 73 I get out a couple times a week. Although we live here in Sarasota, FL., we head back to New England and our former hometown ,Cutchogue on eastern Long Island. You can be assured I’ll be looking for Planes in the flea markets.!
Just last summer I towed my beautiful Heritage Softail up so I could enjoy riding through the country lanes dotted with old potato farms while many have been converted to productive vineyards to preserve the open space ; the area is quite pretty and the homes well preserved. There may be a plane still out in those old barns.
Thank you for a great book…


MikeH May 2, 2012 at 6:55 am

From Neil Searle in New Zealand “I initially bought this book for the information on Noah Pratt and now having read and thoroughly enjoyed Mike Hanley’s rendition of the American Revolution it was a chance for me to reacquaint myself with American history. I have yet to see a Francis Nicholson plane here, let alone one of Noah Pratts.

Thanks for your research on Noah Pratt, Planemaker.”
Neil Searle (New Zealand Vintage Tool Collectors Club)

mike knudson April 30, 2012 at 11:47 am

Hi Mike,
A previous blogger mentioned that the sacrifices of veterans become forgotten, as time passes. That reminds me of the story of Van Barfoot, a Choctaw who received the Medal of Honor during WWII. In his later years, other residents in his neighborhood complained because he left his light on all night to shine on the flag he had flying in his yard. How soon people forget.

MikeH April 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm

From Bob Arnold “Mike – I have read your book and enjoyed it. Quite a feat for you to weave Motorcycles, Planes, & Revolutions into an interesting and informative story. Over the years one tends to forget about the hardships and heroism of our fore-bearers.”

MikeH April 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

Follow this link to see an article published in the Elkhorn Independent about the author’s presentation at the Elkhorn WI Library in April 2012. My thanks to the folks at the Elkhorn Independent for their fine article!

KMcCoy April 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I’m fairly new to the woodworking world, and I truly enjoyed reading this book and recently seeing Noah Pratt’s amazing plane. Whereas the author intertwines the freedom he enjoys riding his motorcycle (because of the American Revolution and heroes of the time), the freedom I enjoy is searching for old woodworking planes…the freedom to learn how to use them as a hobby…the freedom to learn from the history of fellow Americans. This book further sparked my interest and fueled my desire to find the tools of yesteryear and perhaps start on my own journey.

MikeH February 7, 2012 at 8:49 am

Follow this link to see an article published in the WickedLocal about the author’s presentation at the Wrentham Mass library last Nov 8th, 2011

Ian Fosten February 2, 2012 at 9:31 am

Hello Mike
I am minster of the Chapel (formerly Congregational – now United Reformed Church) in Wrentham, Suffolk, England from where Revd John Phillip and others travelled to the ‘new world’ in the 1640’s.

My daughter gave me a copy of your book for Christmas and I have found it immensely enjoyable but also quite humbling as I realise how very limited my knowledge of the American Revolution has been up to this point – many thanks for so ably filling some of the blanks. I was also very taken with your honest analysis of how travelling from oppression to freedom doesn’t automatically dispose the newly free to share those fruits with others (eg women and native Americans). In 17th century England I’m sad to learn how the very people who risked imprisonment and even death for the sake of freedom of religious expression were also the principal advocates of witch trials – an unfortunate habit which they exported to New England a few decades later! I guess it’s only through an honest and reflective reading of history that we stand a chance of savouring the fine principles but not repeating the mistakes of our forebears.
I enjoyed the personal style of your book and your courage not to place it in the hands of a general publisher who might have ironed you out of it and instead rendered something rather more bland.
We hope to stop off in Boston en route to my son’s wedding in California next August – if we do we’ll certainly visit Wrentham, Salem and other places and maybe even be able to call in and say hello.
With every good wish and many thanks for your book

Ian Fosten

MikeH January 18, 2012 at 8:39 am

From MWTCA publication The Gristmill, Dec 2011 by Bob Fields – “Friday afternoon (June 24, Bowling Green KY) Mike Hanley presented our afternoon program on “Motorcycles, Planes, & Revolution”. Noah Pratt was a landowner, farmer, housewright, joiner and tool maker, Minuteman, and the main character in Hanley’s book. In his title, the motorcycles represent our freedom that Noah Pratt was fighting for during the Revolution. We thoroughly enjoyed Hanley’s dedicated and enthusiastic presentation of the book”.

MikeH December 15, 2011 at 10:39 am

From Dennis in Wisconsin – “I truly enjoyed the book – learned quite a bit that I didn’t know about our history – but it was told in an engaging and interesting fashion. I’ve ordered two books to send to my sons for Christmas gifts. I have no doubt they’ll enjoy the book also.”

Paul Nielsen September 29, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Dear Mr. Hanley,

While in Wisconsin for my High School reunion, I had the opportunity to read a borrowed copy of your book, “Motorcycles, Planes, & Revolution”. My sister had been loaned the book by the pastor in her book club. In only 87 pages, you stir a person to take action. I was so impressed by the unique manner in which you presented history, especially the strength of character of our revolutionary founders, that I took the book to our reunion Sunday brunch and made a brief presentation to the class. I think your message is one that we need to read to get a feeling for the degree of patriotism and heroism of the people of the time. The details you reveal in the early battles were new to me, and quite enlightening.

I think your book is extraordinary, and would like to see you continue your writing career with like books.

David Scott August 16, 2011 at 11:01 am

Interesting and informative read. Why don’t they teach this stuff in school? Lots of things you don’t know about our American revolution are in this book. Mike’s perspective is one that I believe is shared by many people, but not publicized by the press of today’s world, which is sad. Let everyone know about this book and website.

MikeH August 8, 2011 at 9:13 am

Quint – Thank you for your thoughts on the book. What cycle did you buy? Above all, please ride safe – keep the rubber side down!

Quint Bennett August 6, 2011 at 6:30 am


You have sparked my interest in motorcycles again. After twenty plus years of not riding I have purchased a motorcycle. Just the short trips that I have made help to unwind the day. I wish that history class in high school was presented more from your perspective. It would have been a lot more interesting. I enjoyed the book – well done.

Daniel Newman July 6, 2011 at 9:43 am


I started your book with no more than a passing interest in woodworking, antique tools or American history. I am a cyclist and a motorcyclist and that is how you hooked me. I had a very similar experience with getting a bicycle when I was young. It meant, as it did to you, freedom. I was compelled to read the entire book and put it down at the end with a much better appreciation of the freedom we as Americans so thoroughly enjoy. It also made me very proud of how far we as a country have come in a scant 235 years. Very well done, thank you.

Mike Knudson June 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Good job, Mike! It is not easy to take an idea and keep at it to the finish. This book has something for everybody, whether you are interested in early carpenter’s planes, American history, or the joy of riding your bike on our many roads. It is good for us to get a review of civics- something many of us have forgotten.

MikeH April 29, 2011 at 7:51 am

Margo Arndt wrote on facebook “I believe your book wakes us up to understand the hardship and self sacrifice of ordinary untrained men to secure our freedom from British rule. That it is imperative for all of us to protect our freedom, and not let it slip away because we aren’t looking and guarding it.. I like how you tied the three subjects together. Your warmth, humor and passion shine through. Mike you did a fantastic job, writing this book.”

Nancy fron WCGS April 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Dear Michael,
The Walworth County Genealogical Society is looking forward to your talk about your newly released book with information about Noah Pratt, Revolutionary Soldier from Massachusetts. The talk is open to the public and will be held on May 3, 2011 at 6:30m at the Community Centre, 826 E. Geneva St., (Hwy 50), Delavan, WI. I am planning on buying a copy of your book that evening. The Society is looking forward to your talk and we are pleased you used our Walworth County Genealogical Society Library, located in the Matheson Memorial Library for some of your research.
Sincerely, Nancy Lehman, Vice President, WCGS

MikeH April 9, 2011 at 8:52 am

From John K in Madison WI – “Mike, I received your book today and while I haven’t read it yet I must commend you on the quality and layout of the volume it’s self. Great photos, excellent layout and quality printing give the book an excellent feel and should make for enjoyable reading. This is truly a job well done.”

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