Tyson: Nurture of the Beast
January 2005, Polity
Cashmore's eviscerating analysis of Tyson's life and the culture in which he grew up, rose to prominence and descended into disgrace provokes the reader into re-thinking the role of one of the most controversial and infamous figures of recent history. Told as an odyssey-style homeward journey to Tyson's multi-pathological origins in the racially-explosive ghettos of the 1960s, Tyson's story is part biography, part tragedy and part exposition. His associations with people like Al Sharpton, Don King and Tupac Shakur shaped his life; and events, such as the O J Simpson trial and the Rodney King riots, formed a turbulent background for the Tyson psychodrama.
Over the course of an epic boxing career, Tyson was transformed from the most celebrated athlete on earth to a primal, malevolent hate-figure. Yet, even after being condemned as a brute, Tyson retained a power - a power to captivate. Cashmore reveals that the sources of that power lie as much in us as in Tyson himself.
* chapter one -
Introduction: I will kill you. Do you understand this?
* chapter two -
If you'd be kind enough, I'd love to do it again
* chapter three -
Are you an animal? It depends
* chapter four -
Like watching a Serengeti lion rip into a warthog
* chapter five -
His vital organs in exchange for forgiveness
* chapter six -
God's planning to screw him
* chapter seven -
To rape the virginal black princess
* chapter eight -
In handcuffs in the back of a police cruiser
* chapter nine -
They believe white men have had to pay for black success
* chapter ten -
Time to leave the white man's world
* chapter eleven -
Facts are lost in the preconceptions of racial grievance
* chapter twelve -
Give him enough time and the nigger will come out in him
* chapter thirteen -
The debt of the ghetto bound
* chapter fourteen -
You'd still look at me as a scumbag
- Cashmore's eviscerating analysis of Tyson's life and the culture in which he grew up, rose to prominence, and descended into disgrace, provokes the reader into rethinking the role of one of the most controversial and infamous figures of recent history.
- Told as an odyssey-style homeward journey to Tyson's multi-pathological origins in the racially-explosive ghettos of the 1960s.
- Illustrated by the background to the Tyson psychodrama, including analysis of how associations.
Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated
“Ellis Cashmore has gone beneath the persona of Tyson with intelligent sensitivity. He has pointed us towards the motives in the psyche of an extraordinary figure in the history of sport and analysed why Tyson remains such a figure of fascination to so many people.”
John Goodbody, The Times
“Ellis Cashmore’s book will fascinate and frustrate an unusually wide range of readers. He juxtaposes the biography of Mike Tyson against mini-narratives of other prominent athletes and celebrities, African American leaders, and contemporaneous incidents, allowing biographical narrative to unfold almost seamlessly into analysis and cultural history. In situating Tyson in his times, Cashmore offers an uncompromising critique of late twentieth-century US race relations, as well as presenting a compelling account of an intriguing career and life story.”
Douglas Hartmann, University of Minnesota
"His account is a well-written and fascinating attempt to help us understand this. It will undoubtedly appeal to a large readership. It is not a purely academic read, but neither is it a trashy hagiography. As such it deserves a broad audience outside of what is traditional for an 'academic' book."
Guy Osborn, University of Westminster