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The Battle of the Century

Immortalized as the battle of the century by Ring Lardner, the Dempsey-Carpentier heavyweight title bout marked America's first experience with the intersection of show business, high society, politics, and the underworld at a single sporting event. "The Battle of the Century: Dempsey, Carpentier, and the Birth of Modern Promotion" offers the definitive history of this landmark event's genesis and impact. To explain why the fight had such a far-reaching influence on mass entertainment and modern culture, newspaperman Jim Waltzer invites readers to travel the path to the 1921 heavyweight championship. Along the way, they will meet a cast of outsize characters, including the savage defending champion (and alleged World War I slacker) Jack Dempsey, French pretty-boy war hero Georges Carpentier, promoter Tex Rickard, Dempsey's slippery manager Doc Kearns, and Jersey City boss Frank Hague. As the tale unfolds, so does an understanding of the forces that shaped the Roaring Twenties and established promotional hype as the MO of business.
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Promotional Information

"It was the Roaring 20s, billed as the Golden Age of sports, and giants roamed the land. On a steamy July in 1921, the legendary predator Jack Dempsey fought a game Frenchman named Georges Carpentier in what was modestly billed as 'the biggest event in the history of sports.' Hyperbole aside, this book is a deft and meticuously researched examination of the ancient sport of the relieving of wallets. It is a good tale, well told." -- Bill Lyon, former sports columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer and a six-time Pulitzer nominee "Through most of the Twenties, Jack Dempsey was the biggest thing in sports, with a life exciting enough to merit his two highly-readable autobiographies. Waltzer's account ably recreates the world in which the heavyweight championship still mattered passionately to most Americans, enough to create the first million-dollar gate, and the then-largest gathering of American celebrities, when 90,000 people assembled outside Jersey City to watch Dempsey take on the French war hero Georges Carpentier." -- Nathan Ward, Author of Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront

About the Author

Jim Waltzer, a longtime newspaper sports editor and freelance magazine writer, is the author of Tales of South Jersey: Profiles and Personalities and the novel Sound of Mind.


"Although the author devotes most of the book to the background of Rickard and the fighters, he closely follows the evolution of the fight and shows how it fit into the culture of the 1920s. The story is not new, but it never seems to get old. Summing Up: Recommended." - Choice

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