81st out of 155 books — 61 voters
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The Killings of Stanley Ketchel
Hailed as "one of the greatest chroniclers of the mythical American outlaw life" (Entertainment Weekly), James Carlos Blake turns to the blazing story of Stanley Ketchel, the legendary ragtime-era middleweight boxing champion and daring rakehell, whose brief and meteoric life burned with violence and tragedy in and out of the ring. The Killings of Stanley Ketchel is a swee ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Harper Perennial
(first published 2005)
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Harkens back to an era when the prerequisites for becoming a champion athlete didn't include attending college on scholarship, competing in the Olympics, and then turning pro; instead it involved: being raised by a sadistic drunk, spending years as a train-hoping, street-brawling hobo, working as a bouncer in a dirty and violent mining town, and then somehow being given a pair of boxing gloves and told to pound the ever loving tar out of anyone foolish enough to step into the ring. Speeding alon ...more
This isn't really a novel so much as a biography with the holes filled in by made up stuff. Carlos can't dramatize events worth a damn, but Ketchel's life was interesting enough that he doesn't have to very often. It also sheds new light on the Hemingway story where two whores argue over which of them has slept with Ketchel. Basically, it's either a biography that takes many liberties with the facts, or a poor work of historical fiction, as most historical fiction is. If you think of it as the f ...more
Overall it was an OK read. James Blake's writing style kinda threw me off a little bit as sometimes I felt like things were just jumping around with limited detail and other times it was greatly wirrten with nice flow. A bit too many slow moments that just killed the pace of the book for me. It's not what I would call a page turned, it has it's moments that get you going, but then slows you down quickly. For a boxing fan if you are looking for a straight boxing book this is not likely the best c ...more
James Carlos Blake is one of the America's most highly regarded living authors of historical crime fiction. Born in Mexico, his family moved regularly when he was a child, living in various towns along the border and coast before finally settling in Texas when he was six. After a stint in the army, Blake attended the University of South Florida and received a Master's degree from Bowling Green Sta ...moreMore about James Carlos Blake...