The Fight

The Fight

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by Norman Mailer
     
 

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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

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Overview

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

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The "fight" is the 1975 world heavyweight championship bout in Zare between then reigning king of the ring Muhammad Ali and up-and-coming George Foreman. Mailer relays the events of the actual fight and includes the observations of George Plimpton, Hunter S. Thompson, and others. (LJ 9/15/75)
From the Publisher
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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316544160
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
07/01/1975

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"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

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Meet the Author

Born in 1923 in Long Branch, New Jersey, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Norman Mailer was one of the most influential writers of the second half of the twentieth century and a leading public intellectual for nearly sixty years. He is the author of more than thirty books. The Castle in the Forest, his last novel, was his eleventh New York Times bestseller. His first novel, The Naked and the Dead, has never gone out of print. His 1968 nonfiction narrative, The Armies of the Night, won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He won a second Pulitzer for The Executioner’s Song and is the only person to have won Pulitzers in both fiction and nonfiction. Five of his books were nominated for National Book Awards, and he won a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation in 2005. Mr. Mailer died in 2007 in New York City.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Provincetown, Massachusetts, and New York, New York
Date of Birth:
January 31, 1923
Date of Death:
November 10, 2007
Place of Birth:
Long Branch, New Jersey
Education:
B.S., Harvard University, 1943; Sorbonne, Paris, 1947-48

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4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Dr_Wilson_Trivino More than 1 year ago
The “rumble in the jungle” was one of the most exciting chapters of boxing history. Muhammad Ali and George Forman go head to head in an exotic land to determine the championship of the world of boxing. Norman Mailer in The Fight takes you to Zaire, Africa, as this far away land prepares for the fifteen round heavyweight title. Mailer takes the reader from Muhammad Ali’s compound camp at Deer Lake, Pennsylvania to President Mobutu’s compound. With his intimate style, Mailer gives you a front row seat to the highs and lows behind the scenes as the world attention focuses on this exotic land. From the Congo’s “Heart of Darkness”, you get up close and personal to the characters that made this moment in history. From the media, the promoters, and the hanger oners, like Don King who hypes the fight as one that will draw a “zillion fans”. The pure poetic tongue of Ali as he describes his style as one that “dances like a butterfly but stings like a bee” to the outrageous tactics of gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson. Mailer relives this man’s sport in the only way that this great writer is able to capture the allure and mystic of the world of boxing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Fight,' by Norman Mailer is about the 1975 boxing match between the trash talking, quick moving Ali, and the calm, hard hitting Foreman. The author describes the fight, and all the events leading up to it beautifully. The fight takes place in Zaire, Africa, and Mailer makes you feel like you are there. He makes visits to each boxer's camp, writing about the mood and the feeling there. All of this leads up the biggest fight in each boxer's career. The match is relayed to over 100 countries, and millions watch it. The climax is very suspenseful, and something that you will not want to miss.