Originally published in 1986, Elliot J. Gorn’s The Manly Art: Bare-knuckle Prize Fighting in America was updated and re-released earlier this year. Gorn goes to great lengths to capture the history of the sport in America. By the 1860s, boxing began to receive considerable attention (mostly because bouts were illegal) and had given rise to a new breed of working class hero. These details figure in a finely tuned story that questions gender, class, and ethnicity while positioning the issue of masculinity within the economic constructs of industrialization.
Gorn has updated the bibliography, and also provides an afterward musing on his achievement and the changes to studies of sports and culture since his landmark publication first appeared. Gorn is professor of American Civilization at Brown University.
Note – the above image shows the original cover.