Why We Fight: One Man's Search for Meaning Inside the Ring

Ecco: HarperCollins. Jan. 2019. 224p. ISBN 9780062569981. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062570017. SPORTS
Taking stock of his life in his 30s, writer Rosenblatt avidly pursued mixed martial arts (MMA) in a futile attempt to escape the blandness and repetition of the everyday, and to escape from his pacifist existence. Immersing himself in MMA videos led to working out and sparring in various martial arts and, after almost a decade, the opportunity to fight in front of hundreds of spectators. In recounting his journey, Rosenblatt riffs on varied topics such as the brain/body connection in the face of fear, the effects of alcohol on the brain, and the relationship between sex and athletic performance. In the end, by flirting with death in the metal cage, he achieves the transcendent experience of feeling truly alive.
VERDICT Some readers might agree most with the author's admission of self-absorption, and others might question observations such as Jesus submitting to the cross in search of a transformative experience, but Rosenblatt offers much food for thought in this intellectual memoir blending sports and self-transformation. [See Prepub Alert, 7/30/18.]—Jim Burns, formerly with Jacksonville P.L., FL
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