Sandspout Bookstore

The Cambridge Companion to Boxing
Gerald Early (ed)


Paperback, 394pp
Cambridge University Press, 2019

This book offers engaging and informative essays about the social impact and historical importance of the sport of boxing. It includes a comprehensive chronology of the sport, listing all the important events and personalities. Essays examine topics such as women in boxing, boxing and the rise of television, boxing in Africa, boxing and literature, and boxing and Hollywood films. A unique book for scholars and fans alike, it explores the sport from its inception in Ancient Greece to the death of its most celebrated figure, Muhammad Ali.


This book offers a comprehensive overview of the sport without excessively scholarly apparatus; contains essays which place boxing in larger social and historical contexts; the essays stand alone and each can be read without reference to the others

Gerald Early is Professor of English and African American Studies at Washington University, St Louis. He has written about boxing since the early 1980s. His book, The Culture of Bruising (1994), won the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. He also edited The Muhammad Ali Reader (1998) and Body Language: Writers on Sports (1998). His essays have appeared several times in the Best American Essays series.

ISBN 9781107631205


1. Boxing in the ancient world Byron J. Nakamura
2. The bare-knuckle era Elliott J. Gorn
3. Jem Mace and the making of modern boxing Adam Chill
4. Race and boxing in the nineteenth century Louis Moore
5. Joe Gans and his contemporaries: the contest for supremacy in the Queensberry realm Colleen Aycock
6. Dempsey-Tunney, Tunney-Greb, and the 1920s Carlo Rotella
7. Prime time and crime time: boxing in the 1950s Troy Rondinone
8. The Africans: boxing and Africa Adeyinka Makinde
9. A century of fighting Latinos: from the margins to the mainstream Benita Heiskanen
10. Women’s boxing: bout time Cathy van Ingen
11. Jews in twentieth-century boxing Steven A. Riess
12. A surprising dearth of top English-born Jewish fighters in the bare-knuckle era Tony Gee
13. Joe Louis: ‘you should have seen him then’ Randy Roberts
14. The furious beauty of Sugar Ray Wil Haygood
15. Echoes from the jungle: Muhammad Ali in the early 70s Lewis Erenberg
16. The unusable champions: Sonny Liston (1962–64) and Larry Holmes (1978–85) Michael Ezra
17. Emile Griffith: an underrated champion Mark Scott
18. Pierce Egan, boxing, and British nationalism Adam Chill
19. Jose Torres: the boxer as writer Adeyinka Makinde
20. ‘Well, what was it really like?’ George Plimpton, Norman Mailer, and the heavyweights Kasia Boddy
21. Jack London and the great white hopes of boxing literature Scott D. Emmer
22. Body and soul of the screen boxer Leger Grindon
23. Black Slaver: Jack Johnson and the Mann Act Rebecca Wanzo
24. Yesternow: Jack Johnson, documentary film, and the politics of jazz Benjamin Cawthra
25. Opera for boxers Rosalind Early
26. The voice of boxing: a brief history of American broadcasting ringside Colleen Aycock
27. Ralph Wiley’s surprising serenity Shelley Fisher Fishkin
28. Muhammad Ali, king of the inauthentic Gerald Early