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on 28 August 2002
Anybody who has seen this fight would be advised to read this book, as so often with terrific fights there is always an aftermath unfortunately with this fight the aftermath left one through champion disapled and probably the best pound for pound fighter in the UK a shadow of his former self.Kevin Mitchell's account of the fight and fighters themselves is brilliant and I applaud him for giving so many fans a chance to look into Gerald McClellan's life after such a memorable battle back in '95.This book also looks at boxing as a sport from it's earliest day's and gives a good insight into fighters and their mentality a quality read and I definatley recommend it.
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on 1 November 2009
This would have worked brilliantly as a series of features in the Observer (the paper the author works for). As a book, I just feel it has too much filler. For instance there are weird interludes about the hotels Mitchell stays in, or how he gets drunk at their bars. What this has to do with the fight I have no idea..

He's a good writer, but I would be cautious about buying this book. It's ok, but no more than that.
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on 20 October 2009
For all those who saw this fight, be it on TV or live, it will long live in the memory as being one of the most brutal fights in the history of boxing.
However the legacy of that fight lives on and for Gerald McClennan it is not a good one.
This book details both fighters careers prior to this bout and then of course the aftermath and how it affected them both.
Although it seems that McClennan wasn't necessarily the most pleasant of folk, the stories of dog fighting disgusted me, he certainly didn't deserve to end up the way he did.
I'd like to say that there was a happy ending but the truth is Gerald McClennan is still very much dependent on the care of his Sister and receives little help from the boxing fraternity.
I read this book within a couple of days as it held my interest throughout but I couldn't help but feel sorry for both fighters at the end of it.
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on 9 April 2002
...for anyone who saw that fight, it was unforgetable: beautiful yet horrifying. I'd never heard of Kevin Mitchell, and it was a bit strange trying to decipher some of the english that our cousins across the sea use, but I thought it was a great book, and did a good job trying to explore the attraction to violence in twin cultures.
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on 18 April 2011
A fantastic book about one of the most vicious fights in boxing history. People often forget how good Gerald McClellan was; having been ranked number 5 Pound for Pound in the world at the time. A sensitive subject like this requires a special amount of care whilst writing, and the author delivers on all levels. Captivating and tragic, this book is un-put-downable.
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on 8 April 2015
This book pulls no punches just like the Warriors involved . Kevin Mitchell grasps you from page one and drags the reader through a war of vicious words ,actions and ultimately a heavy price for all its cast .undoubtably the best boxing book I have read for ages
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on 12 December 2001
Kevin Mitchell's articles in The Observer are this country's most consistently entertaining, informative and insightful pieces of boxing journalism. Mitchell is plainly a highly skilled feature writer, with the rare and valuable ability to cut through boxing's tedious layers of hype and get to the core of the sport. Frankly I'd buy any newspaper specifically to enjoy his columns, which is certainly the reason I was so eager to read War Baby.
But the book doesn't do justice to his obvious talent as a reporter. It's cumbersome, stretching a detailed post mortem of one of the most crazily violent fights in history way beyond what is strictly necessary or entertaining. Padded out with hackneyed phrases and overly concerend with paying tribute to fellow boxing writers, I found it to be a terribly disappointing read.
Describing tough fighters as men who have 'been to the hard place', saying that the Benn-McClellan match was 'always going to be a two-ambulance fight', including lines like 'these guys missed targets like America missed the start of world wars'... It's as if Mitchell is trying to be the Raymond Chandler of boxing writers, and he simply doesn't pull it off. Sensationalistic details such as McClellan's penchant for dog fighting in no way do justice to the fight itself, or to the terrible injury suffered by McClellan. They seem to be included in order to provide a headline-worthy newspaper serialisation, and to be perfectly honest, the massively shortened version published in The Observer is all you really need to see.
Mitchell's attempts at writing black American dialogue are clumsy at best, and the while the book doesn't take a moralistic stance, it does feel like the writer has overstretched himself in churning out a 184-page tome based on a single, brief incident. Editorial judgements such as the 'fact' that McClellan would have knocked out Benn if his hands had been wrapped by his usual trainer are presented as indisputable truths, and the subsequent reaction in the newspaper's letter pages bear out my view that this is a book designed to provoke a popular reaction in order to shift copies. Kevin, I'll keep reading your Observer columns because as a newpaper boxing reporter, you're the undoubtedly best in the business. But next time you write a book, I'll check out a copy in the library...
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on 25 December 2002
I actually attended this fight at the London Arena back in 1995. To say the atmosphere was electric was an understatement. I`ve been to watch my team win the play off finals at Wembley (twice), yet the atmosphere at the Benn McClellen fight was something i had never experienced before or since.
Personally this book manages to capture exactly what it felt like to be at London Arena that night, sending a shiver up the spine nearly 8 years on. While some of the details revealed (about McClellan in particular) may not be to everyone`s liking, this book encapsulates what it felt like to be there.
Not the best boxing book i`ve read, but a damn good read.
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on 12 May 2012
a great book for anyone with an interest in the fight between nigel benn and gerald a great picture of the build up to the fight,the fight itself,and its aftermath.well worth the money.
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on 6 August 2014
An excellent story, War Baby looks right into why we like to fight and to watch others fight, as well as thoroughly analysing the Benn McClellan tear up.
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