In 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaïre, two African American boxers were paid five million dollars apiece to fight each other. One was Muhammad Ali, the aging but irrepressible “professor of boxing.” The other was George Foreman, who was as taciturn as Ali was voluble. Observing them was Norman Mailer, a commentator of unparalleled energy, acumen, and audacity. Whether he is analyzing the fighters’ moves, interpreting their characters, or weighing their competing claims on the African and American souls, Mailer’s grasp of the titanic battle’s feints and stratagems—and his sensitivity to their deeper symbolism—makes this book a masterpiece of the literature of sport.
Praise for The Fight
“Exquisitely refined and attenuated . . . [a] sensitive portrait of an extraordinary athlete and man, and a pugilistic drama fully as exciting as the reality on which it is based.”—The New York Times
“One of the defining texts of sports journalism. Not only does Mailer recall the violent combat with a scholar’s eye . . . he also makes the whole act of reporting seem as exciting as what’s occurring in the ring.”—GQ
“Stylistically, Mailer was the greatest boxing writer of all time.”—Chuck Klosterman, Esquire
“One of Mailer’s finest books.”—Louis Menand, The New Yorker