U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Bibliography: Boxing in U.S. Cultural and Intellectual History

[Note to readers: the following bibliography was compiled by USIH reader Patrick S. O’Donnell in response to a query posted earlier at this blog.]

On Boxing — Sweet Science and Brutal Agon: A Select Bibliography

by Patrick S. O’Donnell

The bulk of this collection of titles was generated as a result of a request by L.D. Burnett at the U.S. Intellectual History Blog to “crowdsource a reading list for ‘Boxing in U.S. Cultural and Intellectual History.’” I have not included all the titles posted by the contributors, and I’ve added some more of my own. All the same, this compilation would not have occurred without that blog post and is the principal product of the aforementioned individuals (notably, Andrew McGregor).

  • Algren, Nelson. The Devil’s Stocking. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006 (New York: Arbor House, 1983).
  • Anasi, Robert. The Gloves: A Boxing Chronicle. New York: North Point Press, 2002.
  • Anderson, Dave. In the Corner: Great Boxing Trainers Talk About Their Art. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1991.
  • Baker, Mark Allen. Title Town USA: Boxing in Upstate New York. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2010.
  • Berger, Phil. Blood Season: Mike Tyson and the World of Boxing. New York: Four Walls, Eight Windows, 2nd, 1996.
  • Cavanaugh, Jack. Tunney: Boxing’s Brainiest Champ and His Upset of the Great Jack Dempsey. New York: Ballantine Books, 2007.
  • Century, Douglas. Barney Ross: The Life of a Jewish Fighter. New York: Schocken, 2006.
  • Davies, Richard O. The Main Event: Boxing in Nevada From the Mining Camps to the Las Vegas Strip. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 2014.
  • Dunn, Catherine. One Ring Circus: Dispatches from the World of Boxing. Tucson, AZ: Schaffner Press, 2009.
  • Early, Gerald. The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature, and Modern American Culture. New York: Ecco Press, 1994
  • Erenberg, Lewis A. The Greatest Fight of Our Generation: Louis vs. Schmeling. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Ezra, Michael. Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2009.
  • Fried, Ronald K. Corner Men: The Great Boxing Trainers. New York: Four Walls, Eight Windows, 1991.
  • Giudice, Christian. Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran. Wrea Green, UK: Milo Books, 2007.
  • Giudice, Christian. Beloved Warrior: The Rise and Fall of Alexis Argüello. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2012.
  • Gorn, Elliot J. The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1986.
  • Hauser, Thomas. The Black Lights: Inside the World of Professional Boxing. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986.
  • Hauser, Thomas. Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.
  • Haygood, Wil. Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
  • Heinz, W.C. The Professional. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2001 (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1958).
  • Heiskanen, Benita. The Urban Geography of Boxing. New York: Routledge, 2012.
  • Heller, Peter. Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 1995 ed.
  • Hoffer, Richard. Bouts of Mania: Ali, Frazier, Foreman, and an America on the Ropes. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press, 2014.
  • Illingworth, Montieth. Mike Tyson: Money, Myth and Betrayal. New York: Birch Lane Press, 1991.
  • Isenberg, Michael. John L. Sullivan and His America. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1988.
  • Kahn, Roger. A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and the Roaring ‘20s. New York: Harvest/Harcourt, 1999.
  • Kimball, George. Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing. Ithaca, NY: McBooks Press, 2009.
  • Kimball, George and John Schulian, eds. At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing. New York: Library of America, 2011.
  • Klein, Christopher. Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America’s First Sports Hero. Lanham, MD: Lyons Press, 2013.
  • Kram, Mark. The Ghosts of Manila: The Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
  • Liebling, A.J. The Sweet Science. New York: North Point Press, 2004 (Viking Press, 1956).
  • Mailer, Norman. The Fight. Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co., 1975.
  • Margolick, David. Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
  • Marqusee, Mike. Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties. London: Verso, 2nd, 2005.
  • McCallum, John D. The World Heavyweight Boxing Championship: A History. Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Co., 1974.
  • McIlvanney, Hugh. McIlvanney on Boxing. New York: Beaufort Books, 1983.
  • McRae, Donald. Heroes Without a Country: America’s Betrayal of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
  • Mead, Chris. Joe Louis: Black Champion in White America. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1985.
  • Moe, Doug. Lords of the Ring: The Triumph and Tragedy of College Boxing’s Greatest Team. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004.
  • Nagler, Barney. James Norris and the Decline of Boxing. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1964.
  • Oates, Joyce Carol. On Boxing. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006 ed.
  • Odd, Gilbert. Encyclopedia of Boxing. New York: Crescent Books, 1983.
  • Remnick, David. King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero. New York: Random House, 1998.
  • Roberts, James B. and Alexander G. Skutt. The Boxing Register: International Boxing Hall of Fame Official Record Book. Ithaca, NY: McBooks Press, 5th, 2011.
  • Roberts, Randy. Papa Jack: Jack Johnson and the Era of White Hopes. New York: The Free Press, 1983.
  • Roberts, Randy. Jack Dempsey: The Manassa Mauler. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2003.
  • Roberts, Randy. Joe Louis: Hard Times Man. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010.
  • Runstedtler, Theresa. Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner: Boxing in the Shadow of the Global Color Line. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2012.
  • Sammons, Jeffrey T. Beyond the Ring: The Role of Boxing in American Society. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1988.
  • Samuels, Charles. The Magnificent Rube: The Life and Gaudy Times of Tex Rickard. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1957.
  • Schulberg, Budd. Ringside: A Treasury of Boxing Reportage. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 2006.
  • Schulian, John. Writers’ Fighters and Other Sweet Scientists. Fairway, KS: Andrews & McMeel, 1983.
  • Silverman, Jeff, ed. Greatest Boxing Stories Ever Told: Thirty-six Incredible Tales from the Ring. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2004.
  • Sugar, Bert Randolph. Boxing’s Greatest Fighters. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2006.
  • Sullivan, Russell. Marciano: The Rock of His Times. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2005.
  • Toledo, Springs. The Gods of War: Boxing Essays. ? : Tora Book Publishing, 2014.
  • Tosches, Nick. The Devil and Sonny Liston. Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co., 2001.
  • Wallenfield, E.C. The Six-Minute Fraternity: The Rise and Fall of NCAA Tournament Boxing, 1932-1960. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994.
  • Ward, Jeffrey C. Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.
  • Wiley, Ralph. Serenity: A Boxing Memoir. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1989.
  • Zirin, Dave. What’s My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2005.

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