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Shelby's Folly: Jack Dempsey, Doc Kearns, and the Shakedown of a Montana Boomtown Paperback – July 1, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
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"["Shelby''s Folly" is] a great story of a town prostituting itself to sport--and one that has been repeated many times since."--D. R./i>--D. R. Danbom "Time Out for Entertainment "
"Mr. Kelly, in his second book, tells this story in a highly entertaining fashion with great detail. . . . The book is a fine read, even for those who know the story well."--David Crisp, "Billings Outpost"--David Crisp"Billings Outpost" (07/22/2010)
""Shelby''s Folly" is such fun to read. Kelly builds toward the fight with insight into the backgrounds and personalities of Dempsey and Kearns, Gibbons, the Shelby town leaders, and the web of fight arrangers and their negotiations."--Ken Robison, "Montana, The Magazine of Western History"--Ken Robison "Montana, The Magazine of Western History "
"Jason Kelly''s "Shelby''s Folly" is a highly entertaining slice of Am--Richard Arlin Stull "ARETE "
"Enjoyable. . . . Mr. Kelly writes sympathetically, not mockingly, of Shelby, and he has a proper appreciation for the brazen roguery of Doc Kearns, whose greed and manipulativeness made the fight possible--and doomed Shelby's self-promotional hopes."--Bill Kauffman, "Wall Street Journal "--Bill Kauffman"Wall Street Journal" (03/23/2011)
"["Shelby's Folly" is] a great story of a town prostituting itself to sport--and one that has been repeated many times since."--D. R./i>--D. R. Danbom "Time Out for Entertainment "
"Jason Kelly's "Shelby's Folly" is a highly entertaining slice of Am--Richard Arlin Stull "ARETE "
""Shelby's Folly" is such fun to read. Kelly builds toward the fight with insight into the backgrounds and personalities of Dempsey and Kearns, Gibbons, the Shelby town leaders, and the web of fight arrangers and their negotiations."--Ken Robison, "Montana, The Magazine of Western History"--Ken Robison "Montana, The Magazine of Western History "
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
It's Just Business
Jason Kelly's Shelby's Folly is a highly entertaining slice of American history using Jack Dempsey's July 4, 1922, heavyweight title fight versus Tommy Gibbons as a backdrop for brazen American optimism, small town politics, and snake oil salesmanship. The real protagonists in this story are the small boom-and-bust town of Shelby , Montana , and Dempsey's manager, charismatic con man Doc Kearns. Shelby 's mayor, "Body" Johnson, lets the news media know that Shelby, the pretender to the title of " Tulsa of the West," is out to become the center of the American sports world. Though initially it was a publicity stunt, private citizens and business interests become enamored of the opportunity to host the fight, despite, as Kelly writes, "having no arena, no transportation, infrastructure, no restaurants, and no hotel rooms to accommodate even a fraction of the crowd."
Enter Dempsey's manager , Doc Kearns. Kearns was a former Alaskan adventurer, boxer, baseball player, taxi driver, bartender, Barbary Coast carouser, fancy dressing, champagne-drinking, fast-talking, and womanizing manager of the heavyweight champion. "Every day was New Year's eve," as one notable sportswriter referred to Kearns . He put the "ooze in schmooze," according to Kelly. His rise to the top of the fight game is a classic "only in America" story, not unlike another boxing promoter half a century later by the name of Don King. Kearns gets varied interests in the town to pony up $100,000 as the first installment on a guaranteed total of $300,000 for the privilege of hosting the fight.Read more ›
Shelby was a small town in Montana in 1923 who decided that they wanted to be bigger and prosperous. How could they do this quickly? Claim to be bidding for the biggest sporting event in the world at the time, the World's Heavyweight Championship.
The bid organisers had no real prospect of raising the $300,000 as well as paying for the facilities that would be required to feed and house an influx of maybe 100,000 people into a small town but they hoped that the resulting publicity from the failed bid would be enough to get the town some name recognition.
Little did they know that the bid would be accepted and they would actually be duty bound to find the money and organise the event in record time.
This is the story of big dreamers from a little town. It is the story of Jack Kearns who was the manager of Jack Dempsey. It is the story of people with good intentions making some terrible mistakes.
This is a good book, it reads well and the author has the ability to keep one entertained.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jack Dempsey was one of the most recognizable celebrities of the Roaring 20's. His celebrity status was equal to Babe Ruth. Read morePublished on March 16, 2013 by Pugwash
I thought the book was more abt. the town & finances rather than Jack Dempsey. It wasn`t what I thought it would be.Published on December 16, 2012 by Shirley L. Randall
This really is a terrfic read. It's a "larger than life" true story, and one of those that couldn't be made up. Read morePublished on April 7, 2010 by F. Dow