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A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and the Roaring '20s

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  240 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
From 1919 to 1927, 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 the Roaring '20s. In A Flame of Pure Fire, award-winning and renowned sports writer Roger Kahn, a personal friend of Dempsey's, tells the extraordinary story of a man and a country growing to maturi ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 14th 2000 by Mariner Books (first published October 5th 1999)
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Community Reviews

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Ensiform
Jul 25, 2014 Ensiform rated it did not like it
This purports to be a study of the heavyweight who helped legitimize boxing by being a superb athlete and, outwardly at least, a gentleman. Dempsey was, without question, a very interesting character. This biography, which is actually hagiography, however, is almost useless in showing us Dempsey the man rather than the icon. A man, you see, has flaws, and the Dempsey portrayed here – by a starry-eyed, name-dropping adorer who more than once describes the Manassa Mauler as “beautiful” – has none. ...more
Arminius
Jan 14, 2009 Arminius rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
Roger Kahn writes much of this book through interviews with Jack Dempsey.

Jack Dempsey was not only the heavyweight boxing champion of most of the 1920’s but in all likelihood America’s first celebrity superstar. He is another of a long list of rags- to- riches American story. He grew up with a Dad who could not keep a job and moved from state to state, city to city, dabbled in Mormonism yet was known as a drunk. Jack however did not drink. He grew up working hard in fields and mines.

His mother
...more
Jim Hale
Mar 12, 2014 Jim Hale rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
This was the time of Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, Al Capone and of course, The Champ. Told in the same style of the 1920's sportswriters he so often refers to, Roger Kahn caps his own great sportswriting career with a barn burner of a book about the remarkable life of Jack Dempsey. Forget the pompous review which calls this hagiography - hah! Anyone who uses that kind of language to describe this book needs a good ass-kicking himself! Of course Kahn loved Dempsey, but the truth is t ...more
Andrew Tollemache
Jul 08, 2014 Andrew Tollemache rated it liked it
This was a recco by comedian Bryan Callen on the Rogan podcast. Tells an entertaining tale of the rise of boxer Jack Dempsey and the Golden Age of Sports in the 1920s. Athletes back then seemed to have different career tracks then now. Willard, who Dempsey beat to become champ did not start boxing until he was 29 and fought Dempsey in his late 30s. John L Sullivan, the last heavy weight champ to do it bar knuckled, won his belt in a 75 round brawl in the Mississippi summer, but was also consider ...more
David
Dec 22, 2013 David rated it liked it
Shelves: completed
This was a very interesting biography of the great boxer Jack Dempsey. Tough the author tries to help us see the background of other activity, he focuses strongly the racism that prevented certain boxers of color from getting a title shot against Dempsey and other fighters. While the book promises to be pretty much abouit the Roaring 20's, it only vaguely touches on the historical period outside of boxing and Hollywood, with a few anecdotes about politics, in particular, something of an expose o ...more
Brian
An engaging and fun read about the life and times of heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey. As the author was a friend and clear admirer of Dempsey (albeit decades after the important events of Dempsey’s life took place), this makes me wonder how much of this book hits the final truths of the man, as the author seems inclined to believe Dempsey’s version of certain stories that paint Dempsey in a better light.

Jack Dempsey as emblematic of the roaring 20’s with all their excitement, excess, vitality,
...more
C. Hall
Aug 24, 2009 C. Hall rated it it was amazing
Sport provides an interesting window into history. In examining a culture’s perspective on sport and the athletes who make sport their business, the reader often gleans key insights into that culture’s values, passions, and wish-fulfillment fantasies. In A Flame of Pure Fire, Roger Kahn not only presents the definitive biography of Jack Dempsey (heavyweight champion of the world from 1919-1926, and arguably one of boxing’s ten all-time greatest), he paints a vibrant, detailed portrait of America ...more
Tpy
Jul 21, 2012 Tpy rated it it was amazing
if you read Fight Ippo, you must be know this man , Jack dempsey !!
petinju tahun 20an, dengan gaya nya yang khas, baik tinju maupun rambutnya dia menjadi perhatian dunia pada masanya,
di buku ini Roger kahn bukan saja membahas perjalanan karir Jack dempsey tapi juga menariknya ke suasana dan sejarah kehidupan amerika pada masa itu.ketika negara sedang dilanda krisis yang berkepanjangan akibat Perang Dunia.tipe buku yang saya gemari

ilustrasi covernya maupun foto2 di dalemnya oke, klasik brow

keti
...more
Chris Gondek
Jan 18, 2016 Chris Gondek rated it really liked it
Good when he sticks to boxing, not so hot on the cultural history. I agree the author probably liked the subject too much- he knew Dempsey personally- to write a top notch biography.
Lenny
Jun 23, 2016 Lenny rated it it was amazing
Great depiction of Dempsey and the Roaring Twenties Era that he reigned in!
Almac
Jun 30, 2014 Almac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, read-2014
Great biography that places Jack Dempsey's personality and career in context with the culture that he lived in. A lot about the Roaring 20's, the Depression, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth and other people from the era; also about other boxers. Maybe to much detail about culture and society if you just want to know about the boxer, but I thought it was a great portrait of the man.

Even better, the author clearly loves Jack Dempsey and deeply respects everything tha
...more
Janet Ricchetti
Dec 05, 2014 Janet Ricchetti rated it really liked it
Roger Kahn is a renowned sports writer of a certain age. The book reflects that age and the one before, the years around the Great Depression. Understanding Jack Dempsey is understanding what it meant to be uneducated and at the bottom of the social ladder but driven to greatness. Fascinating history and observations of the human condition.
David Graham
Nov 22, 2013 David Graham rated it really liked it
I am a boxing fanatic and I love this book. I know that some of the history may be open to question and undoubtedly the writer has fallen in love with his subject but for all that, Kahn evokes the 20's wonderfully and writes some really rousing and poetic passages about Dempsey, particularly towards the conclusion of the book.
Ben
May 23, 2008 Ben rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A true look at the 20's and boxing becoming a big time sport that it was until recently. Kahn is able to set up what Dempsey did, how he became a champ, and how he truly loved to help people. A good biography of the life and times, and while he focused on the 20s he does give you a look at Dempsey's later life.
Bax
Jun 24, 2008 Bax rated it really liked it
Shelves: boxing
Interesting sociological biography of Jack Dempsey and his place in the firmament of the pop culture of the 1920's.

Not as strong as I would have liked on the particulars of the Sweet Science, but worthwhile as a portrait of boxing when it still commanded the allegiance of the general sporting public.
Bill
Dec 16, 2014 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
A great period piece - the story of Jack Dempsey - one of the first great boxers, which is as much a study of the roaring twenties, as much as a profile of one of the greatest boxers in all history. If you enjoy stories of the twenties, GET THIS.
Joseph
Jul 31, 2016 Joseph rated it really liked it
Shelves: boxing
Jack Dempsey was the man who did for boxing what Babe Ruth did for baseball. A savage in the ring and a gentleman of rare generosity outside the ring. The golden age of sports, Ruth, Dempsey, Red Grange, Bobby Jones, Man o' War and Knute Rockne.
Ryan
Feb 13, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it
Neat book. Would not want to face this guy in the ring.
Doodle
May 15, 2009 Doodle added it
Just fun to read about Jack Dempsey. Love boxing books.
Ben
Jul 18, 2016 Ben rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very disappointing.
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