Every Monday night, I curl up with a good book along with something warm to drink and my furry little cat snuggles close as the tinkling sounds of crowds cheering and irate sweaty men postulating drifts upstairs from the television in the living room below. My husband is invariably watching WWE. He catches it just about every Monday night, a faithful carryover from his childhood that’s as familiar as a favorite sweater or his mom’s cooking.
The growing sport that sends him off to a sports bar with a circle of buddies on a Saturday night is mixed martial arts (MMA) pay-per-view events, where men kick and pound each other into submission. I get a little squeamish whenever I sit and watch it with him and find myself either covering my eyes or fighting feelings of intense anger towards the victor.
It’s safe to say that I have never really understood it completely.
So, when I was thumbing through a cart of new books, Elliott J. Gorn’s latest The Manly Art immediately caught my eye. There’s a dapper-looking man on the cover with his chest puffed out and fists up, a historic symbol of fighting. It does look artistic in a way.
The book delves into the history of bare-knuckle prize fighting in America, giving intricate details of published fight records, rivalries and the evolution of the sport. It’s a thorough look at what truly amounts to the precursor for the wrestling entertainment and MMA sports that are so popular right now. I loved the excerpts of written trash-talking that were provided throughout the book. They take Hulk Hogan’s intense monologues to an intellectual realm. The book gave me new insight into something that my husband adores.
Some relevant books in our collection:
Some other Elliott J. Gorn titles: