War, Baby: The Glamour of Violence

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9780224060721: War, Baby: The Glamour of Violence
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Violence, both justified and random, subverted or given free expression, is part of the human condition - it simultaneously fascinates and repels us. Rarely can this have been more apparent than on 25 February, 1995, when Gerald McClellan fought Nigel Benn in the London Arena. At the pre-fight press conference McClellan said "boxing is war - it's a fight to the death" and there was an unusual tension around the meeting of these two men that wasn't simply generated by hype. Nigel Benn came to the ring as underdog and local boy. He was a better than average English boxer with a brutal reputation but his career was coming to an end. American-born Gerald McClellan however was on his way to becoming a boxing legend. He was a viscous, mean boxer by any standards. Ostensibly, they were fighting for a world title and a lot of money, the stuff of professional boxing. But this fight was different. It was a rare collision of wills, and few present had seen anything like it. The fight was finally stopped after ten gruelling rounds; the firecely jingoistic crowd relishing the American's surprise defeat. But then, McClellan didn't get up. He was unconscious, a doctor came, an ambulance was called. Gerald McClellan had suffered severe brain damage, and is now blind and half deaf and living in impoverished solitude in the small American town where he grew up. This is the story of these two men. It is a story too about those associated with the promotion of public fist-fighting, who bend morality to suit their needs and who never run short of willing agents, either in the gym or at the turnstiles. It is a story that attempts to unravel the glamour of violence.

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Review:

"An acutely intelligent, even-handed analysis of the characters, history and all-round horrible wonders of boxing's brutality and beauty. Solid, straight-talking and as rock’n’roll as sports writing gets" (The Scotsman)

"Powerfully taut account of Benn v McClellan brawl captures boxing’s farce and nobility" (Observer)

"The boxing book to end all boxing books... compellingly unputdownable" (Guardian)

From the Publisher:

An astonishing piece of boxing writing, detailing one of the most vicious, controversial and tragic fights of the last thirty years, between Britain’s Nigel Benn and American Gerald McClellan, written by the Sports Journalist of the Year 2000.

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