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Cinderella Man: James Braddock, Max Baer, and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History | [Jeremy Schaap]

Cinderella Man: James Braddock, Max Baer, and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History

Lost in the annals of boxing is the sport's true Cinderella story. James J. Braddock, dubbed "Cinderella Man" by Damon Runyon, was a once promising light heavyweight for whom a string of losses in the ring and a broken right hand happened to coincide with the Great Crash of 1929.
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Publisher's Summary

Lost in the annals of boxing is the sport's true Cinderella story. James J. Braddock, dubbed "Cinderella Man" by Damon Runyon, was a once promising light heavyweight for whom a string of losses in the ring and a broken right hand happened to coincide with the Great Crash of 1929.

With one good hand, Braddock was forced to labor on the docks of Hoboken. Only his manager, Joe Gould, still believed in him, finding fights for Braddock to help feed his wife and children. The diminutive, loquacious Jew and the burly, quiet Irishman made one of boxing's oddest couples, but together they staged the greatest comeback in fighting history. In 12 months Braddock went from the relief rolls to face heavyweight champion Max Baer, the Livermore Butcher Boy, renowned for having allegedly killed two men in the ring.

A charismatic, natural talent and in every way Braddock's foil, Baer was a towering opponent, a Jew from the West Coast who was famously brash and made great copy both in and out of the ring. A 10-to-1 underdog, Braddock carried the hopes and dreams of the working class on his shoulders. And when boxing was the biggest sport in the world, when the heavyweight champion was the biggest star in the world, his unlikely upset made Braddock the most popular champion boxing had ever seen.

Against the gritty backdrop of the Depression, Cinderella Man brings this dramatic all-American story to life, evoking a time when the sport of boxing resonated with a country trying desperately to get back on its feet. Schaap paints a vivid picture of the fight world in its golden age, populated by men of every class and ethnic background and covered voluminously by writers who elevated sports writing to art. Rich in anecdote and color, steeped in history, and full of human interest, Cinderella Man is a classic David and Goliath tale that transcends the sport.

©2005 Jeremy Schaap; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

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  •  
    Marcus Anthony Pittsburgh 06-05-05
    Marcus Anthony Pittsburgh 06-05-05 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"

    Great book, I'm a boxing fan so the boxing history was interesting, filled with names I already knew but now I have a more detailed story behind the names. I think a non boxing fan would still enjoy the story. If you are a fan this is a must listen, I'm sure the movie will focus less on boxing history. The narrator did a good job, his tone and cadence are a perfect match for the subject and time period. I got the unabridged and wish it was even longer. One of the better books I have heard.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-06-05 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding"

    Almost everyone knows the story of the girl who had a rough life and eventually rose to the top with the help of her fairy godmother and lived happily ever after. However, this story is much more than that. It is about an underdog pugilist that endured everything life threw at him and rose to the top with only the belief he had in himself and the desire to provide for his family during the Great Depression. It is a story that will touch your heart and prove to anyone that all one needs to succeed in life is perseverance, desire, and the love and support of family and friends. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Boxing fans and nonfans alike.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Cookeville, TN, USA 07-31-05
    Adam Cookeville, TN, USA 07-31-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cinderella Man is right"

    Great book, probably could have downloaded the abridged and left some of the fighter boxing history out of the book, but absolutely the kind of story you wish you would here more in todays society. Great story about determination and human kindness. Want to see the movie now.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Forest Lake, MN, USA 05-11-05
    William Forest Lake, MN, USA 05-11-05 Member Since 2003
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    "A great book for everyone"

    Even though this book is about boxing, it is really about people and their struggles in life. It shows how a person can deal with adversity and rise above it.

    The book also does a good job covering the depression and the effects on all people.

    I can not wait for the motion picture to come out to see if it comes close to being as good as the book.

    A real classy book.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Pleasant Grove, UT, United States 10-02-05
    Eric Pleasant Grove, UT, United States 10-02-05
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    "Cinderella Man (Unabridged)"

    I'm not a boxing enthusiast, but I was, once in my youth, a competitive athlete. I usually listen to my audiobooks only on my bike ride into work. I stayed up two nights in a row, laying in bed listening until I fell asleep. I just had to keep listening even though I knew the outcome from the start.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steve kearny, NJ, United States 12-13-10
    steve kearny, NJ, United States 12-13-10 Member Since 2009

    Addicted to Audible since 2009

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding listen"

    For those who love boxing and sports or for anyone who loves a good rags to riches story, this book is a must read! One of my favorite listens here at Audible, yet...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MICHAEL J NICOLLS Swansea, IL USA 04-18-10
    MICHAEL J NICOLLS Swansea, IL USA 04-18-10 Member Since 2001
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    "I'm on my third listen"

    I love this book and the narration. I've had this audio for several years now and I'm on my third listen. I'm inspired each time and each time I hear something new.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 04-06-09
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 04-06-09 Member Since 2005
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    "You Gotta Have Heart"

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Charlottesville, VA, USA 02-12-09
    Peter Charlottesville, VA, USA 02-12-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Pretty good for what it is"

    This book is a documentary and reads as such, which is to say that it doesn't read like a novel. It's not a "page-turner," but it is an interesting portrayal of a tenacious boxer during the depression.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    loix Pittsburgh, PA, United States 03-29-06
    loix Pittsburgh, PA, United States 03-29-06 Member Since 2004
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    "no relation to the movie? (in a good sense)"

    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)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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