By Norman Mailer
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375700385, 240pp.)
Publication Date: September 30, 1997
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In 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaïre, two African American boxers were paid five million dollars apiece to fight each other. One was Muhammad Ali, the aging but irrepressible “professor of boxing.” The other was George Foreman, who was as taciturn as Ali was voluble. Observing them was Norman Mailer, a commentator of unparalleled energy, acumen, and audacity. Whether he is analyzing the fighters’ moves, interpreting their characters, or weighing their competing claims on the African and American souls, Mailer’s grasp of the titanic battle’s feints and stratagems—and his sensitivity to their deeper symbolism—makes this book a masterpiece of the literature of sport.
Praise for The Fight
“Exquisitely refined and attenuated . . . [a] sensitive portrait of an extraordinary athlete and man, and a pugilistic drama fully as exciting as the reality on which it is based.”—The New York Times
“One of the defining texts of sports journalism. Not only does Mailer recall the violent combat with a scholar’s eye . . . he also makes the whole act of reporting seem as exciting as what’s occurring in the ring.”—GQ
“Stylistically, Mailer was the greatest boxing writer of all time.”—Chuck Klosterman, Esquire
“One of Mailer’s finest books.”—Louis Menand, The New Yorker
Praise for Norman Mailer
“[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times
“A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker
“Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post
“A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life
“Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books
“The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune
“Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post
Norman Mailer was born in 1923 in Long Branch, New Jersey, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. In 1955, he was one of the co-founders of The Village Voice. He is the author of more than thirty books, including The Naked and the Dead; The Armies of the Night, for which he won a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; The Executioner's Song, for which he won his second Pulitzer Prize; Harlot's Ghost; Oswald's Tale; The Gospel According to the Son, The Castle and the Forest and On God. He died in 2007.
"Entertaining... Mailer continues his familiar shadow-boxing with the ineffable." -- Time
In 1975 in Kinshasa, Zaire, at the virtual center of Africa, two African American boxers were paid five million dollars apiece to fight each other until one was declared winner. One was Muhammad Ali, the aging but irrepressible "professor of boxing" who vowed to reclaim the championship he had lost. The other was George Foreman, who was as taciturn as Ali was voluble and who kept his hands in his pockets "the way a hunter lays his rifle back into its velvet case." Observing them was Norman Mailer, whose grasp of the titanic battle's feints and stratagems -- and whose sensitivity to their deeper symbolism -- make this book a masterpiece of the literature of sport.
Whether he is analyzing the fighters' moves, interpreting their characters, or weighing their competing claims on the African and American souls, Mailer is a commentator of unparalleled energy, acumen, and audacity -- and surely one of the few intrepid enough to accompany Ali on a late-night run through the bush. In The Fight he restores our tarnished notions of heroism to a blinding gleam -- and establishes himself as a champion in his own right.
"An admirable entertainment.... This book recalls one to a sense of how delicate an ironist, and how serious a reporter, Mailer is." -- Saturday Review