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War in the Ring

Joe Louis, Max Schmeling, and the Fight between America and Hitler

Written by John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro

Roaring Brook Press

War in the Ring Download image

ISBN10: 1250155746
ISBN13: 9781250155740


208 Pages



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Joe Louis was born on an Alabama cotton patch and raised in a Detroit ghetto. Max Schmeling grew up in poverty in Hamburg, Germany. For both boys, boxing was a way out and a way up. Little did they know someday they would face each other in a pair of battles that would capture the imagination of the world.

In America, Joe was a symbol of hope to a nation of blacks yearning to participate in the American dream. In Germany, Max was made to symbolize the superiority of the Aryan race. The two men climbed through the ropes with the weight of their countries on their shoulders—and only one would leave victorious.

The battles waged between Joe and Max still resonate today. War in the Ring is the story of these two outsized heroes, their lives, their careers, and the global conflict swirling around them.


Praise for War in the Ring

"Florio and Shapiro bring considerable skill to their lively telling of this multilayered slice of history . . . an honest account of the racism and anti-Semitism intertwined throughout and realistically portraying the complexities of Joe Louis and Max Schmeling]."Kirkus Reviews

"Thoroughly sourced, Florio and Shapiro’s book celebrating Louis' life is a knockout."Booklist

"Florio and Shapiro (One Nation Under Baseball) vividly recount the politically and racially charged rivalry between African-American boxing champion Joe Louis and white German boxer Max Schmeling."Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


1932: Joe’s Violin

America was in the midst of the Great Depression. The stock market had crashed two years earlier, and the slowdown was so severe that even the banks couldn’t survive. Nearly ten...

About the author

Written by John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro

John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro are the authors of One Nation Under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime, and One Punch from the Promised Land: Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, and the Myth of the Heavyweight Title. Together, they’ve written about sports for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, VICE Sports, and Sports Illustrated. They are married and live in Brooklyn. War in the Ring is their first book for young readers.

John Florio

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Ouisie Shapiro

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