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The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America Paperback – April 15, 2010


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The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America + PEOPLE OF PROWESS: Sport, Leisure, and Labor in Early Anglo-America (Sport and Society) + Reading Football: How the Popular Press Created an American Spectacle (Cultural Studies of the United States)
Price for all three: $64.64

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Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; Updated Edition edition (April 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801476089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801476082
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Gorn has done a splendid job of colorfully sketching the development of nineteenth-century prize fighting; the book is beautifully written, extensively researched, and rooted in a sophisticated understanding of American social and cultural history. He demonstrates that a single work can combine engaging narrative and incisive analysis. . . . A delightful and path-breaking book."—American Historical Review



"A book of great insight and intellectual depth. . . . Combining exhaustive research with lucid writing, Gorn has produced a book that is at once instructive, thought-provoking, and fascinating to read. He convincingly illustrates how boxing was transformed from an unauthorized activity of the urban bachelor sub-culture to a more respectable pastime within the entertainment industry of the late nineteenth century. In the process, he reveals how boxing dramatized the differences between Irish and Anglo-Saxon Americans, working and middle classes, wrongdoers and Christians, and perhaps most significantly, between men and women. Gorn artfully reveals the simultaneous fascination and disgust that people felt towards boxing, and the deep-seated emotional responses engendered by the sport. He captures the various meanings that prize fighting had for its participants and carefully details the ceremonies, rituals, and pageantry of the sport. The Manly Art is pure delight."—Journal of Sport History



"Gorn is an adventurous historian with a talent for informed speculation. He has written an exciting narrative history of boxing and then gone a step further to ask a series of questions that extend his focus to the whole of nineteenth-century American culture."—The Nation



"Gorn's finely conceived and craftsman-like book catches the spirit of a young nation rushing to industrialization and how prize fighting was affected by, and came to reflect, much of the national mood and character. The Manly Art is first-rate social history rendered in felicitous prose."—Chicago Sun-Times



"The Manly Art is an important contribution to the study of nineteenth-century American culture. Writing with clarity, vigor, and grace, Gorn combines detailed narrative with convincing interpretations. He offers the reader a judicious selection of quotations from the sporting press that captures the drama, sensuality, and brutality of the ring and its craftsmen."—Journal of American History


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Miller on April 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
The most scholarly treatise of the early prize ring in America that has ever been written. Elliott Gorn picks up where Pierce Egan and Nat Fleischer left off as the premier chronicler of boxing's illustrious past. This book covers every facet of bare-knuckle prizefighting during the days when men such as "Yankee" Sullivan, John Morrissey, and John L. Sullivan ruled the ring. From "The First American Champions" and "The Meanings of Prizefighting" to "Triumph and Decline" and "The End of the Bare-Knuckle Era": this great work describes what boxing was really like when men fought to a finish and many fights were winner take all.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This book not only reports on facts (like

dates, fighters, places, etc.), but also on the

whole milieu of bare-knuckled prize fighting.

It helps to explain what would drive men to

participate in a pastime that was both brutal and outlawed.

A great read for history buffs as well as boxing fans.
I highly recommend it
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent, well researched piece that historians will enjoy. Lots of detail, all well placed in the context of the times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jose Rocha on April 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very interesting information about bare-knuckle fighting, packed with social backgrounds that influenced the sport, the fighters, and the interests that promoted it. If you are looking for a strictly sports history book, this may not be the one you're looking for...but if you wish to understand the backdrop of 19th century American society and it's influence on prize fighting, you will be more than satisfied...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By chef meg on January 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A little dry in parts, but I would be surprised if there is a more detailed book on the history of bare-knuckle fighting and boxing. It was a requirement for my history of sport class, and it was interesting to read about the development of the sport, and the impact it had on American culture and vice-versa.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Parson on November 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enjoyed the information and the ability to find so much in one place. An interesting piece of history, don't you know.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The material is great although I feel it gets a little too tangental but I am not sure if it was just my edition (the updated Kindle version) but there were a ton of misspellings which was especially disheartening when it comes towards names and places. It really makes me wonder if dates and such were correct as well. Still a better editor, if there was one was definitely needed.
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Format: Paperback
This was an "ok" book about the bare knuckle era but after reading Bare Fists by Bob Mee this was a bit of a letdown. I highly recommend Mr. Mee's book "Bare Fists" both for writing style and content. If you enjoyed this book pick up a copy of Bare Fists.
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