Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Shelby's Folly: Jack Demp... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Like New | Details
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: BRAND NEW
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Shelby's Folly: Jack Dempsey, Doc Kearns, and the Shakedown of a Montana Boomtown Paperback – July 1, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$16.95
$11.33 $9.29

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
$16.95 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover


Editorial Reviews

Review

"A simply marvelous book by author Jason Kelly detailing the tale of a little-known Montana mining town trying to break into the sporting world big leagues by promoting a heavyweight championship fight featuring the immortal Jack Dempsey."--"USA Boxing News"--John Rinaldi "USA Boxing News "

"["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

Jason Kelly is an associate editor of the University of Chicago Magazine. He is the author of Mr. Notre Dame: The Life and Legend of Edward “Moose” Krause.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; Reprint edition (July 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080324004X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803240049
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,022,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had gained an interest on the Shelby debacle after reading , "A Flame Of Pure Fire", so I wanted to know more details . The author did some great research on the subject, basically it's all here, any and everything you'd ever want to know about Doc Kearn's fleecing of a Montana Boomtown ! The entire story in-itself is actually quite astonishing . Very well written , very enjoyable reading .
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Kelly, Jason. Shelby's Folly: Jack Dempsey, Doc Kearns, and the Shakedown of a Montana Boomtown, by. Hardback: 214 pages. University of Nebraska Press (2010) ISBN-978-08032-2655

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 ›
1 Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this is listed as a boxing book, boxing is a side issue to the main story.

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.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an amazing piece of History of the American West and of prize fighting in the West (Montana). This is a book that certainly could be utilized in courses in Sports History and History of the American West.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Shelby's Folly: Jack Dempsey, Doc Kearns, and the Shakedown of a Montana Boomtown
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Shelby's Folly: Jack Dempsey, Doc Kearns, and the Shakedown of a Montana Boomtown