From one of the major innovators of New Journalism, Norman Mailer's The Fight is the real-life story of a clash between two of the world's greatest boxers, both in and out of the ring, published in Penguin Modern Classics.
Norman Mailer's The Fight focuses on the 1975 World Heavyweight Boxing Championship in Kinshasa, Zaire. Muhammad Ali met George Foreman in the ring. Foreman's genius employed silence, serenity and cunning. He had never been defeated. His hands were his instrument, and 'he kept them in his pockets the way a hunter lays his rifle back into its velvet case'. Together the two men made boxing history in an explosive meeting of two great minds, two iron wills and monumental egos.
Norman Mailer (1923-2007) was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and attended Harvard University at the age of sixteen. He majored in engineering, but it was while he was at university that he became interested in writing. After graduating he served during the war in the Philippines with the Twelfth Armoured Cavalry regiment from Texas; those were the years that formed The Naked and the Dead (1948). In 1955 he co-founded The Village Voice, and was the editor of Dissent from 1952 until 1963. Among his other works are The Armies of the Night (1968) The Executioner's Song (1980), both of which won Mailer a Pulitzer Prize.
If you enjoyed The Fight, you might like Gay Talese's Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
' "If ever a fighter had been able to demonstrate that boxing was a twentieth-century art, it must be Ali", says Norm, and his achievement in this masterly book is of a similar order, demonstrating that writing about sport can also be a twentieth-century art'
Geoff Dyer, New Statesman
'Probably no one has written about boxing better than Mailer has'