Bouts of Mania

Bouts of Mania : Ali, Frazier and Foreman and an America on the Ropes

4.58 (12 ratings by Goodreads)
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` Bouts of Mania is gripping and intelligent, perhaps the best book about boxing since David Remnick' s King of the World. It puts Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman in the context of their bloody, turbulent times, and reveals how The Rumble in the Jungle and The Thrilla in Manila were backlit by the conflagrations of Vietnam and Watergate, Harlem and Watts. At last, the golden age of boxing has the book it has always deserved.'

Tony Parsons

It was a blip, really. It lasted not even five years, from the spring of 1971 to the autumn of 1975. But if you were in the middle of it - The Fight of the Century, The Rumble in the Jungle, The Thrilla in Manila - the hysteria might have seemed unending. It was a sustained, screeching period of tumult - more than even a single country could contain.

Call it an accident of history: these three men - Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman - converging in a single space, their five fights giving us an irreproducible pandemonium. Some of these fights still resonate in ways that go beyond any appreciation of sport. Each stands for a kind of defiance or maybe foolishness that still make sense today. You still hear it now: It was good, but no Ali-Frazier.

But the serendipity of their riotous occupation, three of the most compelling sports personalities ever, is nothing compared to its luck of timing, and Bouts of Mania is as much about when as about what. Their fights so perfectly bookended a particular disintegration of the American psyche that it seems more a cosmic counterpoint than coincidence. This, after all, was the era of Watergate, Vietnam, Nixon and the humiliation of America.

Just as David Remnick' s King of the World gave us a portrait of Ali and the hope of 1960' s America, Richard Hoffer' s Bouts of Mania shows how these three fighters provided a moral compass during one of America' s worst patches ever. This golden age of boxing gave reassurance to a shattered country that such fundamental if sometimes elusive qualities of courage and determination still mattered. And when it was all over neither they, nor the rest of the world would ever be the same again.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 28mm | 206g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 8pp colour plates
  • 1781313369
  • 9781781313367
  • 873,108

Review quote

'The strengths of Hoffer's writing is that the fight action is told with action and drama.'

` Richard Hoffer' s book is a tale of three men and three fights, each so momentous that there is little risk of tedium in the retelling and no need for new angles. It is revealing detail, fine writing and insight into character that is required, and the author, a writer for Sports Illustrated, delivers on every count.'

` In Bouts of Mania and its three heroes, Hoffer vividly evokes an era in which the spirit of boxing, seen against the febrile backdrop of America' s psychological crisis over the Vietnam war, achieved a pitch of intensity that it has never attained since.'

` Acclaimed boxing writer Richard Hoffer turns his attentions to the fights between Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman.'

` Rich and loquacious account.'

'A fine study of context and character.' `Acclaimed boxing writer Richard Hoffer turns his attentions to the fights between Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman.' `Rich and loquacious account.' 'A fine study of context and character.'
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About Richard Hoffer

Richard Hoffer is an award-winning senior writer for Sports Illustrated and the author of A Savage Business: The Comeback and Comedown of Mike Tyson. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.
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Rating details

12 ratings
4.58 out of 5 stars
5 67% (8)
4 25% (3)
3 8% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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