e-book The Abysmal (A Novella)

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There are very few novels that focus on the Jack Johnson timeframe of early boxing, in fact thsi is the first such novel I have read and it was a good solid story in a rather unique setting. I have never come across another novel like this, and while it is not London's masterpiece, it is a very good read that deserves to be better known.

You will not regret taking up this novel! Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. This novella is rarely included in most collections of Jack London's "complete" works. After reading it I can see why. It seemed rushed as if written quickly for some fast cash. Definitely not among London's best.

But for all that it's an entertaining, sometimes hilarious, expose of the rottenness of professional boxing with a romantic subplot thrown in for good measure. I am surprised that some talented screenwriter hasn't latched into this obscure novella as grist for a very good madcap romantic comedy. An independent-minded socialite newspaperwoman who hates boxing is sent to interview the 1 contender for the world championship.

She falls in love with him when she finds out that, far from being the brute portrayed by the media, he's a sensitive art-loving, poetry- reading outdoors aficionado. Cary Grant and Kate Hepburn. Yup, it got potential. I thought the ending was a little unbelievable. Author Jack London has better offerings. If you like outdoors adventures, try American born author James Oliver Curwood.

He wrote 32 novels dealing with adventure in the great north.

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It left me inspired and smiling. This is a great story. And it has a happy ending. It takes place in Jack London's boxing world in the early part of the 20th Century. Son of a fighter, the young man in question was raised in the country. He was big, strong and raised by his father. He didn't smoke or drink or carouse with women. He was just a country boy who loved the outdoors. He had a pure heart but his father trained him to be a fighter.

And, according to the story, when the father was ailing, he sent for a reporter who specialized in boxing and sent the boy down to San Francisco in the reporter's care to compete in the boxing ring. The boy was an innocent but he easily defeated all his opponents. Eventually though he learned to not knock them out in the first moments of a fight. He learned to play to the audience. The reporter was his manager and made a lot of money on him.

The boy, who was called the Abysmal Brute was still naive though. He didn't know that fights were fixed. He also became enamored with a beautiful female reporter who he instantly fell in love with.

The Abysmal Brute

How it all turned out is the stuff of legends. I was indeed smiling at the perfect conclusion. And you will be too. Karl Janssen Top Contributor: The Abysmal Brute is a boxing novel by Jack London, originally published in Over the course of his career, London wrote a handful of very good boxing stories. His gritty, naturalistic writing style is well-suited to the sport, and he always finds a clever way to approach the ring from an unexpected angle, never settling for the typically formulaic, underdog-overcomes-adversity-to-win-the-championship story line.

As London describes him, he may very well be the greatest boxer who ever lived. The son of a former champ, Young Pat is a proverbial "babe in the woods" who is brought out of the wilderness to embark on a big-city prizefighting career. This young Hercules of the forest has been blessed with a remarkable physical strength and prodigious natural talents that have been polished to brilliance under the tutelage of his father. A sensitive young man more disposed toward reading poetry than pugilism, Pat shows little enthusiasm for his new vocation.

Stubener, the lucky man chosen to manage this ultimate fighter, finds himself charged with the difficult task of finding challenging opponents, while shielding the young man's innocent eyes from the corruption and graft which pervades the entire system of fight promotion. In addition to possessing an obviously profound knowledge of his subject, London exhibits a true love for boxing. His enthusiasm is infectious, even to the reader who otherwise cares little for the sport. The detailed, naturalistic descriptions of boxing matches, the people who fight them, and the combat strategy involved really creates the feeling of being in the ring with the contenders.

The vivid realism is somewhat counteracted by the fact that London makes his hero into such a superman that his perfection defies believability. On the other hand, with a little updating this book could easily be turned into a Hollywood movie where defying believability is commonplace. When compared to London's other boxing stories, The Abysmal Brute is on a par with London's other boxing novel, The Game, but not as compelling as his excellent short stories "A Piece of Steak" and "The Mexican," which are far more dark and serious in tone.

Though there's a sprinkling of London's pet philosophical themes throughout the story--evolution, nature vs.


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  • The Abysmal Brute is a brief and entertaining read with enough unexpected turns in its plot to qualify it as a pleasant surprise. The paperback edition from Bison books features an introductory essay by Michael Oriard that puts the book into historical context and gives the reader a good picture of the boxing world of a hundred years ago. Oriard also addresses the issue of whether or not London was a racist, and the role of race in boxing at the turn of the century.

    See all 7 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published on July 25, Paperback , 72 pages. Published January 9th by Wildside Press first published San Francisco, California United States. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Abysmal Brute , please sign up.

    Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. I found this book on the sidewalk on my way home from work. It's a super quick read. It's a magnificent story. I kept waiting for some sort of grand tragedy or other complete nonsense to ruin the whole thing, but it never happened. Good to the end. High school English teachers, why don't you make the kiddies read this one? Jul 19, Sidik Fofana rated it it was amazing. Boxing corruption in the early s? View all 4 comments. It found this book in my local library after school.

    It is easy to read and very understandable. It's a brilliant story. I is all heartbreaking and makes you understand the awful tragedies.

    However the pain did not appear until the very end. It is definitely a material for secondaries. You can pick a lot of language and structure which makes it very interesting. This book is aimed definitely at ages Feb 21, Jack rated it really liked it Recommended to Jack by: Joe Rocco - Frank Rocco. Just as the main character in this book - many boxers may be considered naive and many more may have lived lives that led them to be manipulated by promoters.

    Boxers suffered some of the biggest travesties and alienation in New York for the fifty years before Jacks story was written.

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    Yes even the first boxing movie was filmed shortly before this book Jack London had a handle on the boxing industry as he was a boxer from San Francisco alongside Abe Attell the Feather Weight Champion of the World. Yes even the first boxing movie was filmed shortly before this book was published which was around the same time of the temporary relaxing of New York boxing laws This manipulated the public into thinking that the end of the bare-knuckled boxing brought about a safe sport with the gloves.

    And while it's true that boxing and storytelling have been inextricably holding each others hands into the past I cannot assume that this will continue to be the case. What then will be the UFC's legacy. Will we have more broken and broke -- brain dead fighters -- dying horrible deaths.

    This book is a central pivot point in the history of boxing and possibly influenced the way the nation reacted to the sport which was being denigrated by females pursuing temperance. How much did this story play into the hands of those wanting to control liquor and boxing and then those who became boxers because they had know other way. Jack London even quipped that men turned to boxing at the YMCA's and KOC leagues to escape the rigid conservatism of women who wanted to control all aspects of a mans life. If one understands that Abe Attell knew Arnold Rothstein and Jack London one should see how this important piece of work helped lead to the change of the political guard that brought prohibition.

    I question -- Jacks work -- when understanding it as a tool for this guard and wonder if his disillusionment of this act led to many more great stories. Feb 05, Asails F rated it really liked it Shelves: Sep 13, ferrigno rated it liked it. Mi ero meravigliato per il fatto che London avesse configurato, nei suoi racconti sulla boxe, l'epica del pugile come la concepisce oggi il nostro immaginario, adottata pari pari in moltissimi e bellissimi film, come Cinderella man, Million dollar baby, Rocky 1, eccetera.

    London ha abbozzato nientemeno che Superman. Un uomo invincibile, di basso profilo, sottovalutato, un po' ingenuotto ma non stupido, che ha una relazione con una giornalista emancipata. Apr 11, Paul Conder rated it it was amazing. Combining Jack London's social writing with his love for California and boxing, this is a swipe at the corruption in boxing that existed at the time and probably still permeates the sport now.

    The Abysmal Brute by Jack London

    A young boxer, Young Pat Glendon, is discovered in the back woods of Northern California and proceeds to become a sensation at the hands of a 'trusted' manager only to discover he has been led astray. His revenge reflects Glendon's innocence. Written in his later career the story has a depth of character tha Combining Jack London's social writing with his love for California and boxing, this is a swipe at the corruption in boxing that existed at the time and probably still permeates the sport now.

    Written in his later career the story has a depth of character that many others didn't have. The love interest is expressed in a way that modern readers will not recognise without a whimsical sigh for a more innocent time. Overall an excellent starter for going beyond White Fang or the Call of the Wild but don't stop here there are so many others worth the effort. What if Henry David Thoreau had been a juggernaut pugilist? And what if a wildly popular American author of the early 20th century had decided to shape the prize fighter's story in a style we would later come to call Capra-esque, complete with silly romantic melodrama and an idealist's indignation at institutional corruption?

    A murky scenario, to be sure, but London tackles it with gusto. The fight scenes, while not always engrossing, are well imagined, and London's dialogue sparkles even when t What if Henry David Thoreau had been a juggernaut pugilist? The fight scenes, while not always engrossing, are well imagined, and London's dialogue sparkles even when tinged with schmaltz. Jan 23, Ashley Danielle rated it it was ok. Since this book was first published in , it was duh! I read this book because it was on a list of 50 Top Romances of 20th Century.

    I, personally, would disagree with that. It was boring by any standards, and especially boring by MY standards. If i had to name something i liked, it was merely the challenge of reading a book that is years old. It kind of made me feel like i was in another time.