An Amateur in the Ring
An amateur steps into the ring against a champion boxer ... Published for the first time in the UK, George Plimpton's masterpiece on boxing, Shadow Box
From the author of Paper Lion
Stepping into the ring against light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore, George Plimpton pauses to wonder what ever induced him to become a participatory journalist. Bloodied but unbowed, he holds his own in the bout – and brings back this timeless book on boxing and its devotees, among them Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ernest Hemingway, and Norman Mailer.
Shadow Box is one of Plimpton’s most engaging portraits of professional sport seen through the eyes of an inquisitive and astute hopeful. From the gym, the locker room, the ringside, and even in the harsh glare of the ring itself, Plimpton documents what it truly means to be a boxer in some of the finest writing of his career.
“Excellent... The chapters on Muhammad Ali are delightful, and Ali is not easy to write about”
“With his gentle, ironic tone, and unwillingness to take himself too seriously, along with Roger Angell, John Updike and Norman Mailer he made writing about sports something that mattered”
“What drives these books, and has made them so popular, is Plimpton’s continuous bond-making with the reader and the comedy inherent in his predicament. He is the Everyman, earnests and frail, wandering in a world of supermen, beset by fears of catastrophic violence and public humiliation, yet gamely facing it all in order to survive and tell the tale… A prodigious linguistic ability is on display throughout, with a defining image often appended at the end of a sentence like a surprise dessert... It is a fan’s book, not only displaying the awe and devotional piety of the true fan but also the perils of the condition.”
Timothy O'Grady, Times Literary Supplement