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The Fight Paperback – September 30, 1997


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Paperback, September 30, 1997
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (September 30, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375700382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375700385
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 4.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There are sporting events that transcend the world of sports, and the 1974 heavyweight title fight in which Muhammad Ali regained his crown by improbably kayoing George Foreman in the middle of the African night was certainly one of them. Metaphorically, it was a writer's dream: two imposing black warriors, one all grace, the other brute force, one the iconoclast, the other the blind patriot, battling each other. Fatefully, the appropriate writer threw his pen into the ring. Norman Mailer's masterful account goes far beyond the ropes to capture the primal ethos of the sport, the larger social canvas this particular fight was drawn on, and the remarkable cast of personalities--not the least of which is Mailer himself--who converged to make this "Rumble in the Jungle" a landmark in sports history and a clear knockout in Mailer's journalistic portfolio.

From Library Journal

The "fight" is the 1975 world heavyweight championship bout in Zaire 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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

If you are a serious boxing and Ali fan, you just have to read this book.
usaamah
The Fight paints beautiful portraits of many of the characters, events, and locations that surrounded The Rumbe in The Jungle of 1975.
Z. Blume
A short and easy read, it will make you want to view "the rumble in the jungle" again ... and again.
SDS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Andy Orrock VINE VOICE on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you were fascinated by Leon Gast's Oscar-winning 1996 documentary "When We Were Kings," do what I did: go out and buy Mailer's 'The Fight' immediately. More than just covering the fight itself, Mailer takes in and reports the entire crazy scene in Kinshasa, Zaire, circa 1975. It must be noted that this book is as much about Norman Mailer (referring to himself throughout the book in the third-person) as it is about Muhammad Ali, but this results in some great reporting like in the one memorable chapter where Mailer decides he's going to run in the early dawn with Ali.
The best parts of the book deal not with Ali but in the richly drawn portraits of the other important players. Ali's mystical cornerman Drew 'Bundini' Brown is a revelation, and you won't find a better take on Don King anywhere, despite the fact that this prose is now 25 years old. The real value of this work is that is captures the essence of Ali and Foreman circa 1975, and - like 'We Were Kings' - subconsciously directs your brain to compare these 'Kings' to the men they have become. The natural tendency is to recognize the true extent of what we have been deprived of by Ali's descent into the grips of Parkinson's, but there's a corresponding shock when reading about Foreman: to realize how this man totally reconstructed his personality to turn himself into a multi-media star. You read Mailer's book and say: No way. But George pulled it off.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By usaamah on August 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
Norman Mailer's "The Fight" is quite simply one of the best boxing books I have ever read. Reading Mailer the novelist writing about boxing gives you a certain novelty you will not experience in other books on sport. Mailer's keen observation comes shining through: on life in Zaire, Mobutu's rule, George Foreman and of course Muhammad Ali.

I was surprised to see that Mailer has such a keen eye on the sport. His description of the fight is like no other you will ever read or see. The result is something like a passage jointly written by Bill Cayton and Alistair MacLean. Mailer with his minute observation adds a great touch of drama to the proceedings instead of presenting only a dry technical analysis of the fight. If you want the latter, you might as well watch Max Kellerman on ESPN. Mailer on the other hand gives you a lively picture, making you feel like you were there on that dark, sultry Kinshasa night, part of the radiant crowd chanting "Ali, mumbaye".

Mailer displays an ardent love for the sport and admiration for Muhammad Ali. Many insights are given into Ali's personality. Particularly interesting are the insights into the lives of Ali's camp members: Angelo Dundee, the workaholic trainer who never gave away an inch; Lou Bundini, the colorful sidekick, and Herbert Muhammad, the manager who always meant business. I have read a lot on Ali but have not been able to find anything special on his troupe, apart from this book by Mailer.

If you are a serious boxing and Ali fan, you just have to read this book. If you are not and are just interested in understanding the fascination about Muhammad Ali, this is something that will do a lot to help you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matthew M. Howell on June 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ridiculously overwrought. Mailer seems to think that he can influence the outcome of the fight via a mysterious magical force in the air that he can get in touch with by getting drunk and doing stupid things on his hotel balcony. As a historical document, this book is interesting. As an insight into Ali and Foreman's personalities, it's good. But one walks away with the firm opinion that Mailer is a bleeding idiot.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C.D. Usselman on November 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Rumble in the Jungle is a seminal moment in boxing, and for that reason alone it deserves an account. The fact that a boxing fan/skilled writer and social critic wrote the account would appear to be to the benefit of the reader. And Mailer does two things particularly well. The first is his description of the fight itself, which captures the drama of the struggle in a captivating and thrilling manner. The second is Mailer's attention to the political struggle in Zaire during the '60's (This is akin to holding a title fight in Serbia in the mid-90's). But, Mailer has to ruin a great little book by injecting himself into the action. He doesn't have to be the fly on the wall and he has every right to admit his personal bias. But it's nauseatingly tiresome to refer to yourself in the third person and speculate as to how people think about you, "the famous writer." What an unbelievable ego. It's not only an annoying personal trait, but it disrupts the flow of the book and takes from the titular reason that many people picked up this book. See if your library has it, but don't bother paying for a very good account marred by one man's need to talk about himself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Slap Debussey on September 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Norman Mailer could do just about anything with prose, and what he usually wanted to do with it was celebrate Norman Mailer. So, what we have here is the story of two fights - Ali vs. Foreman, and Mailer vs. his digestive system, which was rendered ineffective from various elements in Africa, not the least of which being Mailer trying to interpret the varieties of black people [sic]. The parts about Ali/Foreman are vivid, unpredictable, and great fun to read, and the parts about Mailer are unbearably narcissistic and should have been kept in his journals. Mailer never understood that Ali's vanity was channeled into entertainment, while his own never rose above masturbation. Half a great book, half pathetic self-aggrandizement.
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