A Pictorial History of Wrestling by Graeme Kent

March 20, 2019

Surprisingly widely available for a 1968 title, this is a great combination of text and photos of wrestling on both sides of the Atlantic.

Written entirely from the perspective of wrestling being a sport (albeit one with showmanship in spades), the first 130 or so of the 300+ pages here deal with the development of amateur wrestling in its various styles around the world. The rest covers the professional business from the pre-Gotch days, split into “The Golden Age”, “Between the Wars” and separate chapters on American and European Wrestling after 1945.

The text history is relatively comprehensive and accurate, albeit limited by the lack of “insider” material, particularly during the often-baffling era of doublecrosses and promotional manouvrings in the 1920s and 19302.

Meanwhile the picture content is hugely impressive: although limited to black and white, there are literally hundreds of images included, covering everyone from Al Hayes to Georges Gordienko in both action and posed shots. Highlights include pictures of Reggie Lisowski (The Crusher) and Pat Patterson in their early years and a shot of an early battle royale from a time when that gimmick still involved teams of wrestlers doing battle while wearing boxing gloves.

At almost any reasonable price, this would be a strong recommendation for serious collectors, but with used copies going for less than $20, it’s worth picking up for anyone with an interest in wrestling history.

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