david-baptiste's Reviews > Raging Bull: My Story

Raging Bull by Jake LaMotta
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's review
Mar 18, 2008

really liked it

This is a fascinating book, in that its story is the Ur-Text for the Scorcese film, as well as being a classic in its own right as an a boxing book and a book on different levels, structures, groups & institutions of power as they play their parts in LaMotta's quest for power in the ring. The film turns the story into a Catholic allegory which transforms the Raging Bull from the realization that "I'm not an animal" into the Man of the Theater and Language who goes on stage to recite poetry by the greats as well as himself. The book has many strange redemptive moments of its own, especially one that opens and closes the tale. LaMotta--with Peter Maas--has a lighter touch than Scorcese, with a lot of laughter pervading some of the really tawdry and grim episodes.
LaMotta's book is one of the pioneering works of a new form of sports writing that developed in the 1960's, in which the athlete themself has the a self awareness and sense of the meanings of their careers and personas which before it had usally been up to sports writers and the writers influenced by them to create. Books like LaMotta's, Jim Brosnan's Pennant Race and others, Jim Bouton's Ball Four and the non-stop genius with language of Muhammad Ali changed the landscape for sports coverage and sports writing.
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