Thank goodness I was "exposed" to the namesake movie only after listening to this book! (Neither the movie credits on IMDb nor the special features on the DVD version list Jeremy Schaap, which leads me to suspect that the only things that the two have in common are the story and the title.) There are so many things I loved about the book that unfortunately didn't make it into the Ron Howard movie--the ambience of the boxing world (and the world beyond sports) in those days, the highly disciplined (and quite possibly extremist) training that Jim Braddock put himself through in preparation for his fight against Baer, the much more sympathetic depiction of "characters" (including Baer, who became a sacrificial scarecrow in the movie) other than Braddock and his immediate entourage...(the list goes on)
Occasionally, truth is more compelling than fiction. Damon Runyon's quote, “In all the history of the boxing game, you'll find no human interest story to compare with the life narrative of James J. Braddock,” is a very good summary of this book. I'm not a boxing fan, but I found this book to be completely absorbing. Jeremy Schaap (author) and Grover Gardner (narrator) bring the characters to life in this entertaining history of boxing during the depression era. If you have seen the movie, then I urge you to listen to this book for a more complete picture of the circumstances surrounding the match between Jim Braddock and Max Baer. If not, then prepare yourself for a thoroughly enjoyable journey back into boxing's illustrious history.
This book is a fascinating historical account of the boxing careers of Jim Braddock and Max Baer. In the movie, Baer is portrayed as a comic book villain, a la Mr. T in Rocky III. In the book, a far more complex character is revealed.
While the film was emotionally compelling, the book reads like a historical account. If you like sports and/or history, you will enjoy this book. If you're expecting to have a more in depth version of Ron Howard's film, you will be disappointed.
Grover Gardner's delivery was, as usual, above par.
This page turner of a biography relates the story of boxer James Braddock's struggle to support his family and his winning of the heavyweight title. This is no "Rocky" because it is true and the sweat and blood spent during his fight days leap off the page. This a story of courage, love of family, and sheer luck which anyone would at least appreciate.
Schapp's book does for fighters and the fight game what Hillenbrand's Seabicuit did for horses and racing. It is well written and expertly read. Male or female, fight fan or no, will find something to admire in Braddock and better grasp why "they do it." Strenuous, exhausting in places, and often painful, this is not an inspirational book, but a biography that is inspirational.