American Booksellers Exchange is a sales engine for independent booksellers, a competitor to Amazon.com until Amazon acquired it in August, 2008. It still exists as a separate site, however, focusing on used and collectible books. Their routine features on particular categories of collectible books are frequently awesome. I also love to check out their annual roundup of the highest-price titles sold on ABE; it boggles my mind to see what collectors will pay for something.
Their page of boxing titles is a blast for any fan not just of boxing but of pulp culture in general. As a noir fan, I find it stirringly inspirational. Boxing used to be a frequent theme in books of both fiction and nonfiction; it was the favored bloodsport of the working class. Maybe that’s why political discourse tended to be so entertaining in the old days, huh? Nothing like a fistfight on the Senate floor to perk things up during a boring debate on water rights.
Here’s ABE’s summary of the collection:
Boxing, one of the oldest sports in existence, has been revisited many times by authors trying to make sense of the mayhem in the ring. Labeled the Sweet Science and loved by Ernest Hemingway, who actually wanted to spar with world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, boxing has seen books about the rules, books about how to do it, books about the ethics and dangers, and much literature about the combatants themselves.
This selection, featuring many remarkable cover designs, includes books about pugilistic legends like Gene Tunney who twice beat Dempsey, ‘Cinderella Man’ James Braddock, the ageless Archie Moore who fought from 1938 to 1963, Jake ‘The Raging Bull’ LaMotta, ‘Gentlemen’ Jim Corbett, convicted robber Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay who became fought Liston into submission and became Muhammad Ali.
Take a journey from the rules established by the Marquess of Queensberry to the age of bare knuckle bouts to the great champions and the most famous fights of the 20th century.
[Via crime author, noir devotee, and fight fan Christa Faust.]