Yankee Doodle Dandy


Yankee Doodle Dandy

The Life and Times of Tod Sloan

John Dizikes

225 pages


April 2004


$14.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In the 1890s the world of racing was turned on its ear by a young American who rode horses as no professional jockey had ever ridden: Tod Sloan hitched up his stirrups and thrust his weight far forward. Traditionalists laughed at first and dismissed him as a novelty, but as he came to dominate racing on both sides of the Atlantic, his style of riding became widely imitated, and his famous “forward seat” remains universally practiced to this day. Sloan’s place in racing lore and popular culture was cemented in 1904 when George M. Cohan wrote and starred in Little Johnny Jones, a Broadway musical based on Sloan’s rise and fall in England.

John Dizikes’s portrait of Sloan (1874–1933) shows a small-town, hard-luck, midwestern boy who became an overnight sensation and an international celebrity in a world of breeders, bookmakers, gamblers, hustlers, bluebloods, and princes. As the King of Jockeys in the sport of kings, Sloan lived in high style, until he was banned from British racing and forced to eke out a living on the margins of the sport for thirty years.

Author Bio

Winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award for his Opera in America: A Cultural History, John Dizikes is an emeritus professor of American studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


“A beautifully crafted work, even-handed in its evaluation of a controversial figure, artfully set against the colorful Gay Nineties and richly spiced with tidbits of racing lore.”—Wall Street Journal

“Historical investigative reporting at its finest, . . . A story of gambling, sport, and scandal from the Wild West to Victorian England.”—Thoroughbred Times

“You will not forget Tod Sloan.”—New York Times Book Review