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Old 05-25-2009, 12:14 PM   #1
Colleen Aycock
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Default Joe Gans' Book Review

Please note that the purpose of this post is to categorically refute the misrepresentations contained in the review of our book "Joe Gans: A Biography of the first African American World Boxing Champion" in the July, 2009 issue of the The Ring magazine.

The review is not a book review of a biography of Joe Gans; it is a blog, in defense of Nat Fleischer, founder of The Ring magazine, for which we have the utmost respect.
The reviewer’s knee-jerk attack of us took the authors and other reviewers of this book completely by surprise. The review is nothing but a screaming, rambling "how dare you" find fault with our founder, Nat Fleischer.
What set the reviewer off (for which he based his entire review) was 2 pages of our book where, in Ch. 6, we discuss Fleischer's description of one of Gans' fights. As every boxing historian knows, Nat Fleischer was not all that accurate in describing many early fights. Such was the case for the first Gans-Erne fight, and we stand by our research and the description of that fight.
Contrary to the review, we did not, in any way, try to make a "bogeyman" out of Nat Fleischer. We could have, for example, taken Fleischer to task for his racist language, such as calling black fighters “the Ethiopian Menace” or “the Sons of Ham,” (the latter, a biblical reference that was used at the time to justify slavery.) But this was not a book about Nat Fleischer and we did not discuss this subject. We used only those comments about Gans’ fights, and we put those comments in the context of the times.
When we were first notified of the rabid, trashing of the book, we were disappointed, but shrugged it off, as something we couldn't control, by someone who had some other axe to grind. But when we received so many messages from people who were incensed by the heavy-handed review, we decided to address these inaccuracies head on.
Please note, that we never say Nat Fleischer "single handedly" buried Gans. In addition, we were stridently accused of being politically correct, which sounds as if the reviewer has some problem with this himself. Strangely, the reviewer picked sound bites of our prose, quoted them, and then twisted them into incoherent attacks of Nat Fleischer.
By the way, here is our final word on the subject of Nat Fleischer (considering we don't say that much about him):
p. 240. "Nat Flesicher, as noted, embraced the racist attitudes of his day to some degree, but this did not prevent him from acknowledging the greatness of black fighters. In the late sixties, having had time to see fighters up until Muhammad Ali's day, he picked blacks as the greatest fighters in several divisions, including heavyweight, welterweight, and lightweight. Jack Johnson was his pick at heavyweight, Barbados Joe Walcott at welterweight, and Joe Gans at lightweight."
Now, does this sound maniac prose against Fleischer, or that we accuse Fleischer for “single-handedly” burying Gans in the “backwater of history?” We truly hope the Ring's review doesn't cause anymore disservice to Gans, and that readers will judge the book without being influenced by this unfair, biased and inaccurate blog that is better left on something like “MySpace.”
Colleen Ay****
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:53 PM   #2
Colleen Aycock
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Default Re: Joe Gans' Book Review

From private messages sent to me:
The Ring review of our biography of Joe Gans doesn't come out until June 2, July issue. I'm trying to soften the blow, and hope readers don't take it to heart. We were apparently trashed SOLELY because we criticized Nat Fleischer, founder of Ring magazine. Good grief, NF has been dead since 72. Apparently, he is still GOD of the Ring! The reviewer ABSURDLY rants that we say Fleischer "single-handedly" destroyed Gans' legacy. That we call him "racist," etc.,etc.. And that we are too "politically correct." I don't think it was out of "political correctness" that we pointed out that during Gans' reign he had to enter the ropes for the express purpose of going at a white man, at the same time every 3 days a black man was hung or burned at the stake in America.
Strange, we didn't even talk that much about N. F.
Here are our few and final words in the book about him:
p. 240: "Nat Fleischer, as noted, embraced the racist attitudes of his day to some degree, but this did not prevent him from acknowledging the greatness of black fighters. In the late sixties, having had time to see fighters up until Muhammad Ali's day, he picked blacks as the greatest fighters in several divisions, including heavyweight, welterweight, and lightweight. Jack Johnson was his pick at heavyweight, Barbados Joe Walcott at welterweight, and Joe Gans at lightweight."
Now, does the above sound like maniac "passion" against NF?
Anyway, it was the most unprofessional review--simply a BLOG-- in defense of NF. THe reviewer says nothing about our research on Joe Gans. Obviously, he is no historian or he would know that boxing historians give little credit to F, and that we were actually KIND to him. We stand behind our research where NF is CLEARLY WRONG. We hope this trash put out by The Ring doesn't continue to bury Gans' remarkable legacy. Was that their motive? I don't know, it is all so strange.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:39 PM   #3
capuano
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Default Re: Joe Gans' Book Review

I subscribe to Ring Mag, I read the review. The review would not dissuade me from reading the book but I think you are too sensitive concerning their review.

Their review was fair and pointed out the journalist who reviewed the books pet peeve with your book.

Don't be so sensitive about things.

The Ring has always gave gans his just due.

Don't try to infer just because someone had negative things to say about a book you wrote, that they are trying to trash Gans' memory. That's just untrue.
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:23 AM   #4
Jack Dempsey
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Default Re: Joe Gans' Book Review

Am looking forward to reading your book Colleen, one question though, why is it so expensive compared to other booking bios?
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:36 AM   #5
mcvey
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Default Re: Joe Gans' Book Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colleen Ay**** View Post
From private messages sent to me:
The Ring review of our biography of Joe Gans doesn't come out until June 2, July issue. I'm trying to soften the blow, and hope readers don't take it to heart. We were apparently trashed SOLELY because we criticized Nat Fleischer, founder of Ring magazine. Good grief, NF has been dead since 72. Apparently, he is still GOD of the Ring! The reviewer ABSURDLY rants that we say Fleischer "single-handedly" destroyed Gans' legacy. That we call him "racist," etc.,etc.. And that we are too "politically correct." I don't think it was out of "political correctness" that we pointed out that during Gans' reign he had to enter the ropes for the express purpose of going at a white man, at the same time every 3 days a black man was hung or burned at the stake in America.
Strange, we didn't even talk that much about N. F.
Here are our few and final words in the book about him:
p. 240: "Nat Fleischer, as noted, embraced the racist attitudes of his day to some degree, but this did not prevent him from acknowledging the greatness of black fighters. In the late sixties, having had time to see fighters up until Muhammad Ali's day, he picked blacks as the greatest fighters in several divisions, including heavyweight, welterweight, and lightweight. Jack Johnson was his pick at heavyweight, Barbados Joe Walcott at welterweight, and Joe Gans at lightweight."
Now, does the above sound like maniac "passion" against NF?
Anyway, it was the most unprofessional review--simply a BLOG-- in defense of NF. THe reviewer says nothing about our research on Joe Gans. Obviously, he is no historian or he would know that boxing historians give little credit to F, and that we were actually KIND to him. We stand behind our research where NF is CLEARLY WRONG. We hope this trash put out by The Ring doesn't continue to bury Gans' remarkable legacy. Was that their motive? I don't know, it is all so strange.
I havent read the book so have no comment on it .
I have a comment on "Nat Fleischer embraced the racist attitudes of his day " .

Fleischer ,then a boxing reporter ,started publication of The Ring in Feb1922.
Fleischer made the first serious effort to collate accurate records of fighters,to which we should all be grateful.
Fleischer far from accepting the racism in boxing ,crusaded against it.
In only the third issue of the Ring there was a ,leading article which contained these words.
"It seems only just that prejudices be eliminated in every clean sport,and that if boxing is to hold its place in the field of athletic activites,discrimination must not be countenanced".
Fleischer led a campaign to get Harry Wills a title shot ,and wrote several editorials demanding the match. He risked financial ruin to do so in the face of the racism of the times.
Fleischer was also a very close personal friend of Jack Johnson to aver that Fleischer was in any way racist ,or went along with racism is not only incorrect ,but a slur on his name.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: Joe Gans' Book Review

I agree with the previous replies. I am no fan of Fleischer but to call him a racist is ridiculous. The guy was a staunch defender of minorities in the sport of boxing.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:23 AM   #7
Mendoza
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Default Re: Joe Gans' Book Review

Fleischer could be viewed as a minority since he was Jewish. While Fleischer was biased to fighters he was fond of, and lacked careful research in a micro sense, he was one of boxing's most important historians and certainly not a racists.

When Fleischer passed, his son in law Mr. Loubet took over Ring Magazine. I'm not sure how many people at Ring Magazine today knew Fleischer or Loubet, but these two men were the founders of Ring Magazine. Any jab at them in-directly or directly might lead to a negative book review.
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