The Man of All Talents: The Extraordinary Life of Douglas ‘Duggy’ Clark by Steven Bell
Review / October 23, 2020

Pro wrestling in Douglas Clark’s era was an often muddled blend of reality and fictionalised drama, as indeed is this book. Clark certainly had a life worthy of chronicling. He was among the pioneers of rugby league, winning numerous championships with Huddersfield and England, and is among just 25 members of the sports Hall of Fame. While a rugby professional, he was also a perennial top contender in Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, a legitimate contest where grapplers aim simply to trip or throw an opponent to the ground. Following an eventful stint as a supply driver on the battlefields of the First World War he was given a disability discharge and ordered to give up professional sport. Instead he continued winning rugby championships throughout the 1920s before turning to pro wrestling where the addition of submission holds helped revive the business. Now in his 40s he claimed a British and later world championship, touring Australia and New Zealand. Author Steven Bell has amassed a wealth of source material including newspaper archives, Imperial War Museum records and even Clark’s own diaries and memoirs. Sadly Clark died before chronicling the pro wrestling years, so we don’t get his direct insight in this…