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Before anyone knew there was such a thing, Jack London gave us the natural: Young Pat Glendon has never drunk alcohol nor tasted tobacco. He loves nature, is afraid of cities, and is shy of women. And he is a perfect fighter. Summoned from the city to consider such a prospect, cynical Sam Stubener, manager of prize-fighters, is struck by the boy's extraordinary athletic grace-and soon man and boy are off to San Francisco to take on the heavyweight world. The Abysmal Brute is the story of natural grace pitted against worldly brutishness. A subtle social drama played out in the arena of sport-in a day long before sport moved to the center of American culture-it is also a rousing romantic tale in the tradition of one of our great storytellers. As Pat hones his skill-and his curious style-on one champion fighter after another, he contends for the heart of a lovely admirer and for the soul of professional boxing, whose rampant corruption his blows expose.
Jack London (1876-1916) wrote such classics as Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Sea-Wolf. Introducer Michael Oriard is the author of Reading Football: How the Popular Press Created an American Spectacle and other works. He is a professor of English at Oregon State University.