Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

The Harder They Fall
Budd Schulberg

£8.99

Budd Schulberg’s celebrated novel of the prize ring has lost none of its power since its first publication more than fifty years ago. Crowded with unforgettable characters, it is a relentless expose of the fight racket. A modern Samson in the form of a simple Argentine peasant is ballyhooed by an unscrupulous fight promoter and his press agent and then betrayed and destroyed by connivers.

Paperback, 400pp
Allison & Busby, 2013 (1947)
ISBN 9780749013073

Biography

Budd Schulberg grew up in Hollywood, his father being one of the founders of the Hollywood film industry. His novels include the legendary What Makes Sammy Run?, On The Waterfront, The Disenchanted, The Harder They Fall, Everything That Moves, two collections of short stories and a memoir. He died in 2009.

This book is one of the classic fictional accounts of boxing, published in 1947. Eddie Lewis, former student of Princeton and would-be playwright, never expected to make his living writing lies. But that’s precisely what he does to pay his rent: Eddie is a manipulator of headlines, an inventor of hyperbole, all on behalf of his boss Nick Latka and his dealings in the boxing business. Nick’s latest project is the massive Toro Molina, discovered in the Argentine and now being primed for the fight – or at least, for a few elaborate performances.

For in the world of 1940s boxing, fixing the game is all too easy. Latka and his team of promoters, punch-drunk ex-fighters and professional gamblers play the unwitting Molina for all they can get. As ‘the Giant of the Andes’ is bled on the ropes by the rapacious criminals of the fighting game, Eddie is forced to examine himself, his principles, and the decline and fall of the ‘manly art’ of boxing.

Budd Schulberg’s celebrated novel of the prize ring has lost none of its power since its first publication more than fifty years ago. Crowded with unforgettable characters, it is a relentless exposé of the fight racket.