Tyson: Nurture of the Beast
January 2005, Polity
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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.