A Flame of Pure Fire

Jack Dempsey and the Roaring '20s
Narrated by: Kevin Yon
Length: 17 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

Audible membership

$14.95 a month

Free with a 30-day trial
1 audiobook of your choice.
A monthly selection of Audible Originals.
$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $29.99

Buy for $29.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Through most of the Roaring '20s, Jack Dempsey was the heavyweight champion of the world. With his fierce good looks and matchless dedication to the kill, he was a fighter perfectly suited to his time.

In A Flame of Pure Fire, renowned sports writer Roger Kahn not only chronicles the thrilling, brutal bouts of the Manassa Mauler, but also illustrates how the tumultuous 1920s shaped Dempsey - and how the champ, in turn, left an indelible mark on sports and American history.

©2000 Roger Kahn (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"One doesn't have to be a fan of boxing to be enthralled by this story of a nice guy who didn't finish last." ( The New Yorker)

What listeners say about A Flame of Pure Fire

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    22
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ambitious but poorly executed

Roger Kahn attempts to use Jack Dempsey as the centerpiece of a sprawling history of the 1920s and meditation on memory. The book is clearly coming from a deep place of personal reflection and meaning. Unfortunately, it just never comes together. It feels like segments of a dozen books have been placed into a blender at times, wildly bouncing around chronologically and abruptly shifting to outside context that is only tenuously, if at all, connected to Dempsey. This strikes me as a prime example of a great writer (and Kahn at his best is just that) who reaches a level of esteem where an editor is either too intimidated or trusting to demand changes to a manuscript. This is an often rewarding listen, but structurally it is a mess. It also features too many self-absorbed personal asides from Kahn, as if Dempsey's value is only how he impacted the life of one writer. For example, to explain the psychology of boxers heading into a match, Kahn tells a long anecdote about his own pugilistic turn at summer camp as a child. This section, like much of the book, reads as a conversational journey through Kahn's memory rather than a functional biography of a great heavyweight.

A note on the narrator: The tone and delivery are largely good, but he has an embarrassing number of mispronunciations. It's listenable, but prepare to wince.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

A bit Dempsey, a bunch of Left Wing politics!

Any additional comments?

If you are interested in the story of the great Jack Dempsey this is not the book for you. Roger Kahn, the overrated sports writer, books, not newspapers has written what should have been called, “My Ideas and Political Philosophies of the 1920s.” He praises every Liberal writer of the era, while adding a bit of Dempsey here and there. It got so bad that I had a difficult time finishing the thing. If I want to hear about Sacco and Vanzetti, the scandals of the Harding admiration, or how evil and nefarious Calvin Coolidge was, I would get a history book. As for the narrator, that’s another gripe. I though I was listening to John Goodman, not that I have anything against John Goodman, but after 17 hours the readers crude Midwestern patter becomes almost intolerable, not to mention his mispronunciations of many of the names which the most casual of listeners would certainly recognize. Names such as Roosevelt, Carl Leammle, Paul Gallico, it al. . . .If you are a boxing fan, especially a Jack Dempsey fan leave this one alone.

9 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-21-17

Flawless

Great narrator, excellent biography,
Factually sound for the most part, and I can be as pedantic as the worst of them.
I could only find 2 errors .. and they were minor.
I was delighted with this book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Paul
  • Paul
  • 12-30-14

And we think life is hard now!!

I love this book and this is my second read as I also own the paper version of it and enjoyed it a few years back. Jack Dempsey with Tyson and Ali are my favourite boxing characters in history and the key thing that I enjoyed about this book is that we are provided with all of the intricacies pertaining to the time period which makes this story even more enjoyable.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MR
  • MR
  • 06-16-13

Loved it

Downloaded this as i was interested in learning something about the first black heavyweight champion. So you can imagine my initial disappointment...which lasted about ten minutes. Fabulous read/listen. Great social commentary and history of this exciting period & boxer. Couldn't put it down (turn it off anyway). One of those stories you want to start again as soon as it finishes. Give it a go, simply excellent.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dazler
  • Dazler
  • 01-20-13

A Knockout

If you're a boxing fan and lover of The Roaring 20's this is one for you.