Boxing: A Concise History of the Sweet Science

Gerald R. Gems. Rowman & Littlefield, $40 (328p) ISBN 978-1-4422-2990-7
Gems (The Athletic Crusade) presents a dynamic history of boxing from the death fights in ancient Greece to the hyped bouts of today, with a lens towards the sport's evolution and cultural impact. Attempting neither to glorify nor vilify the sport, the author's goal rather is to flush out boxing's place in context of human history. The best parts of the book focus on when the sport has been used for political and social means. Communist countries have used female boxers to proclaim the might of their people. Nations staged fights for regional power. The section on gender in sports is particularly strong as well. Women were boxing in modern times as early as the 1700s, though have always been looked at lesser than male counterparts. The discussion of class and race is also refreshing in a sports history and emblematic of Gem's ability to be thorough in both scope and specificity. This minutia will delight boxing fanatics well but may slow the reading experience for those with only a casual interest. Gem's meticulously researched book serves as an exemplar cultural overview of a sport in its full view. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 360 pages - 978-1-4422-2991-4
Paperback - 360 pages - 978-0-8108-9503-4
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