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The Wrestling Paperback – 1 Nov 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571236766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571236763
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Garfield was born in London in 1960. He is the author of an appealingly diverse and unpredictable canon of non-fiction, including Mauve, The Nation's Favourite, The End of Innocence and The Wrestling, and has edited three popular collections of diaries from the Mass Observation Archive. His quirky history of fonts, Just My Type, turned out to be a hit, which reassured him that he was not alone in his passions.

His latest book is about maps - a wide-ranging, inquisitive and light-footed examination of how we use maps not only to find our way, but also to express all aspects of our lives - from art and crime to politics and cinema. The book is about exploration in its widest sense, travelling from the Great Library at Alexandria to the home of Google Maps, with cartographic diversions via Birmingham, Antarctica, Melbourne, the Himalayas, the East End of London, New York and the Congo. The book has some big questions too: Can men really read maps better than women? Is there anywhere in the world yet to be mapped? Will sat nav be the ruin of us all?

Garfield has been intrigued by maps since he had to find his way around the London Underground as a young boy, and he has been fascinated by geography ever since he was taught it at school by the former England cricket captain Mike Brearley (although admittedly Brearley mostly knew about India and Australia and other places he'd opened the batting).

Garfield also enjoys Hampstead Heath, cycling, globe-spinning by Presuming Ed, and writing by Tracy Kidder, Nicholson Baker, Bella Bathurst, Bill Bryson and Simon Armitage.

Product Description


'Funny, tragic, and full to the brim with outrageous arse-whupping, The Wrestling does its subject proud.' -- Observer

Book Description

Simon Garfield's The Wrestling is the hilarious, absurd and tragic story of British wrestling, told by one of the most talented non-fiction writers around.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Random Reader on 3 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful look back at the British world of wrestling, which was such a fixture on Saturday afternoons in the 1970s and 80s. The book manages to avoid both a dreary nostalgia and self-pity at the decline since the heyday of the sport. It is comprised mainly of a series of interviews with ex-wrestlers and promoters and the author was clearly accepted into the wrestling community during the writing of the book.
Simon Garfield covers all the famous characters known to the TV viewing public at the time: Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo, Les Kellet, Adrian Street, Kendo Nagasaki, Giant Haystacks and the like. However, this is not tired, re-worked material. Rather, through the conversations, there are fascinating insights into the showmanship, physicality, poor pay, loyal and vocal fans, the varied venues and for a few, for a short time, the occasional glamour. The relationships between the stars and their promotors and managers provide an insightful angle on the business side of wrestling which now seems from another era.
Overall the atmosphere of the book was like walking through a fading holiday resort out of season. So many good memories of past fun (yes, it was a mixture of fake and real) but also more than a pang of emptiness at times forever left behind.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Saturnicus VINE VOICE on 26 Jun 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is all here in this lovely book by Simon Garfield. For those of us who remember "Good Afternoon Grappling Fans!" by Kent Walton, this book is a must. The information we get on Mick McManus and Steve Logan, Kendo, Jackie Pallo and the boys is well written and compulsive reading. Later on the book the WWF/WWE appears briefly, and the differences between the British and American scene are explained succinctly.

What a pity British wrestling has been allowed to decay. There was some real talent in the ring, and as the author points out, there were dozens of moves the Americans have not even heard of.

Sadly many of the contributors and chaps mentioned have passed to that great square circle in the sky.

Well done Mr Garfield.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy Wheeler on 12 April 2013
Format: Paperback
The Wrestling: The Hilarious True Story of Britain's Last Great Superheroes.

By Simon Garfield.

Published by Faber and Faber.

Released November 1, 2007 (Originally published in 1996).

256 Pages, paperback.

Simon Garfield is a British author of non-fiction books such as; Expensive Habits: The Dark Side of the Industry, The End of Innocence: Britain in the time of AIDS, and Just my Type. Garfield is also a well versed journalist appearing in such newspapers as The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, and the Sun, a long with editing Time Out magazine. Simon would be named the Mind Journalist of the Year in 2005. As a small boy he would be fascinated by the All-In professional wrestling featured on the television, when meeting Mick McManus, one of the top stars, years later it would compel Simon Garfield to compose a book on the story of The Wrestling.

The Hilarious True Story of Britain's Last Great Superheroes isn't so much humorous as it is a unique look into the world of professional wrestling. The book is made up almost entirely of interview excerpts collated by Mr. Garfield. Whilst the chapters are put together in an order that is some what chronological the contents of the chapters is often hard to decipher the exact period of time is being spoken of, especially if you did not grow up watching the World of Sport TV show or seeing the live events that took place. After an introductory section to introduce some of the main characters of the era and to explain how the book came about, we naturally are treated to brief, selective history of British wrestling. A whole host of stars are featured including The Giant Haystacks, Big Daddy, Adrian Street, Jackie Pallo, Max Crabtree, and Kent Walton.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By on 6 Oct 2000
Format: Paperback
When I think of the (few!) books I've read in the past 5 years, this one keeps coming back to me. Simon Garfields style of quotation over narration (as per his Radio One book - almost as great as this) works well here with an obviously (inadvertantly in some cases) hillarious cast of heros, daredevils and madmen who loved the sport and reaped very few benefits. It's a sad story of the decline of a great 'spectacle' I loved in my youth on World Of Sport. Listening to the stories of being paid 15 quid a fight and squashing the puss out of pig-bitten fingers pre-fight only makes you love this era more and wonder quite where it all went wrong with American Wrestling! Gloriously entertaining stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Sep 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Wrestling is an old book - first published in 1995 - charting the history of professional wrestling in Britain. It was updated in 2005 with a short epilogue, mostly recording the deaths over the intervening 10 years of many of the household names who were interviewed for the original book. But make no mistake, British professional wrestling had died long before 1995.

Most of the book comprises statements and anecdotes spoken by key players in the British wrestling scene. We have contributions from wrestlers themselves - Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Davey Boy Smith, Pat Roach and all; from the promoters - Max Crabtree, Mick McManus; and the presentation team - Kent Walton. There are many, many more contributors besides.

What emerges is a story of regret; the heady days of the 1950s then led to the burgeoning success of televisation. Cash came rolling in, even if much of it was never passed on to the wrestlers. But then it went wrong as the televisation was withdrawn in 1988 and audiences found louder, better spectacle from across the Atlantic. There are stories of wrestlers packed like sardines in the back of minibuses, travelling for hours to and from shows, having to build their own rings, change in cupboards, play on through injuries, and cope with the loss if anything bad happened because the promoters were certainly not going to waste money on insurance. There are bitter recriminations, fond memories, insights into what really went on behind the scenes. And most of all, there was a great sense of good, almost-honest hard work. There were friendships and rivalries that were quite different to the staged feuds. There were tensions between sport and entertainment - and entertainment won.

There is blame cast aplenty, much directed at the Crabtree family.
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