This is definitely one to collect rather than read, but given its age it’s surprisingly attainable (in the US at least.) Showing the prestige and perception of pro wrestling at the time of its 1913 publication, this is part of a series of sports and fitness books published by Richard K Fox of the National Police Gazette which, despite its title, was the original boxing and sports magazine of its day. The book starts with a brief bio of Gotch, though oddly it only covers the first Hackenschmidt bout and not the 1911 rematch. There’s then a look at wrestling, bemoaning the fact that some matches appear to be little more than exhibitions, and some training tips. The rest of the book is made up of 29 photographs showing different holds, posed by Gotch himself and Oscar Samuelson, a name I couldn’t trace other than in references to this book. The selected holds certainly give the impression Gotch’s bouts would have more closely resembled an amateur contest than the slam-bang style of even the 1930s.
Some exciting releases here and on the way from Crowbar Press. The highlight is a new reprint of Fall Guys by Marcus Griffin, a 1930s expose behind the scenes of the pre-war machinations and doublecrosses. While the book is excellent, some of its claims are questionable or exaggerated, with a strong theory that Toots Mondt was a key, but unreliable, source. That’s addressed in this new edition which includes detailed annotations from publisher Scott Teal and historian Steve Yohe, correcting and challenging the content. It’s an approach that worked well with a previous reprint of Lou Thesz’s autobiography Hooker. Meanwhile Pro Wrestling Books reader Jason Presley kindly passed on the “coming attractions” schedule for Crowbar Press. Highlights for 2019 include a series of books on “The Great Wrestling Venues” in both Japan and the US territories. There’s also “Bowdren The Booker”, which was the title of a popular series in the Wrestling Observer newsletter where Bowdren produced an alternative timeline for WCW.