“Absorbing. . . . Fascinating. . . . Margolick describes all this so vividly that you almost feel you were there sharing in the joy of sweet revenge.” –Ian Buruma, The New York Review of Books
“Even if you've never seen a boxing match, Beyond Glory is an irresistible read. For fans it is indispensable. . . . Over the last 150-odd pages my pulse raced; by the book's end I felt as if my ears were ringing with the roar that swept through Yankee Stadium bleachers on the night of their rematch.” –Allen Barra, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A valuable addition to a growing library of books on sports and culture. . . . Beyond Glory is historical reportage, a heavyweight of a book that is likely to be the definitive chronicle of its subject.”– Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review
“A fascinating look at a historical era through the prism of sports.” –Marta Salij, The Detroit Free Press
Joe Louis and Max Schmeling fought twice. In 1936, Schmeling, a former world heavyweight champion, upset the youthful, Alabama-born "Brown Bomber" with a 12-round knockout. Two years later, Louis, now the titleholder himself, demolished the German challenger in 124 seconds at Yankee Stadium. In this gripping narrative, veteran Vanity Fair contributing editor David Margolick describes how these two historic fights, replete with political and racial undertones, galvanized the world.
…a heavyweight of a book that is likely to be the definitive chronicle of its subject.
The New York Times Book Review
A contributing editor for Vanity Fair and the author of three previous books, Margolick has brought these events to life. He deftly moves his characters on and off stage against a backdrop of increasing tension…As Louis's rematch with Schmeling nears, the alignment of the various campsblacks and Jews for Louis; Germans, some German-Americans and most anti-Semites for Schmelingmakes for absorbing reading. Margolick's extensive research gives us a keen sense of what ordinary citizens were being told on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Washington Post
Fought with thunderclouds of war on the horizon, the 1938 heavyweight rematch between Detroit's Joe Louis and Germany's Max Schmeling qualifies as the sort of sporting event that coalesces into a symbolic moment with much larger themes. The African-American Louis's success and demeanor were an unsubtle rebuke to the Aryan theories of race; the affable Schmeling, for his part, would be shoehorned into the role of "Nazi Max," despite the uneasiness of the fit-later that year, on Kristallnacht, he would courageously protect two German Jews. Vanity Fair contributor Margolick (Strange Fruit) keeps his bold, colorful focus squarely on the hubbub leading up to the bout; the all-consuming welter of hype-almost every utterance in the book is tinged by race or geopolitics-makes for compelling reading. The fight pitted talent against tactics: Schmeling's previous defeat of the hitherto "unbeatable" Louis depended on Schmeling's shrewd perception of a flaw in Louis's technique. Louis was a critical transitional figure between the controversial first African-American champ, Jack Johnson, and the equally polarizing Muhammad Ali. Schmeling, in turn, was truly the antithesis of the thugs who were running his country. Every chapter in the company of such estimable and likable stalwarts is an unalloyed pleasure. Photos. Agent, David Black. (Sept. 22) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In 1936 and again in 1938, American heavyweight Joe Louis fought Germany's Max Schmeling in monumental bouts in New York's Yankee Stadium-the second time for the championship title. Schmeling won the first fight in 12 rounds, but Louis knocked him out in just over two minutes on June 22, 1938. As highly anticipated as the fights were, it was clear that the rising global fear of Hitler and a world on the brink of war carried greater historical weight. YetVanity Fair contributor Margolick (Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song) balances the gathering storm in Europe with boxing's golden age in a masterly account that makes important connections between the two. Utilizing newspaper sources from both sides of the Atlantic, including African American newspapers, the Jewish press, and the Nazi propaganda machine, Margolick details the full context of the fights, all the while maintaining the perspective of Jewish fears and the Nazi cause in Germany and of blacks in America searching for a savior. One of the best sports books of recent years, Beyond Glory is highly recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/05.]-Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., Alabama Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In a turn to do A.J. Liebling proud, longtime Vanity Fair contributing editor Margolick (Strange Fruit, with Hilton Als, 2001, etc.) recounts a charged moment in boxing history. Max Schmeling, a ponderous but powerful fighter, was a pragmatist, a friend of intellectuals and artists philosophically opposed to the Third Reich, a friend as well to the Jews he encountered in the boxing world, including his manager, Joe Jacobs, who became a symbol for the Nazis of all that was wrong with professional sport. Yet, as Margolick chronicles, the Nazis easily and thoroughly co-opted Schmeling. Against Schmeling, in 1938, stood Joe Louis, himself a politicized figure, a champion of the early civil-rights movement by virtue of proving that blacks and whites could box in the same ring; as fellow fighter Henry Armstrong remarked, "You can't Jim Crow a left hook." Schmeling had defeated Louis in an upset in 1936; two years had invested their impending contest, in Harlem, with much more importance, for at stake was the Nazi program of racial superiority. The fight itself was over almost as soon as it began, with Louis "prancing and dancing as a Man o' War at the bit." A decade younger and in superb form, he defeated Schmeling in the first round and became a national hero-for whites as well as blacks. For his part, Schmeling went back to a Germany whose media and political leadership was inclined either to pretend that the fight had not happened or to blame the loss on conspiracy and technicality. Commentator Heywood Broun hazarded that the decline of Nazi prestige worldwide began with Schmeling's defeat, but of course it took more than that to unseat Hitler: Louis went into the Army and pressed forequality in uniform, while Schmeling served in the Wehrmacht but later insisted, of course, that he was only doing his duty. Sports and political history in a balanced, engaging blend. First printing of 50,000