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Foxcatcher by Mark Schultz

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on Fri, 01/02/2015 - 03:15

Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother's Murder, John du Pont's Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold by Mark Schultz
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

For background, I grew up wrestling in eastern PA, my father is a Hall of Fame high school coach, and my brother coaches today. I was in HS in the 1980s and remember the Schultzs' winning gold in 1984. My father received an autographed copy of DuPont's Off the Mat book (which I threw out after the murder). I even saw the Bulgarian team mentioned in the book at an exhibition at Lehigh University. I wanted the movie to respect Dave and the sport and not to portray DuPont in a good light.

Over the holidays, my wife got this book for me. I didn't even know it was available. After seeing the movie I was curious to read it, because I knew the movie would tell the fall of DuPont, but I was surprised at how Mark was portrayed. I was very interested to read his perspective.

I was only aware of Mark's accomplishments, whereas Dave's accomplishments were well known, but so too was his being a great ambassador of the sport internationally.

The book was actually published in 2014 and the movie was in development many years beforehand. After finishing it, and given identical titles, I have to believe it was a quick attempt to publish and take advantage of the movie's acclaim.

As others have noted, the book is not well written, there are typos, and it is more about Mark than it is the murder or Dave.

For as bad as I thought Mark was portrayed in the movie, his own autobiography made him look worse.

I'm not sure who, if anyone this book is for. I didn't feel like Mark had respect for others. From comments about coaches to competitors, he didn't come across as being respectful. He was fixated on being the toughest, roughest, guy from beginning to end and didn't offer anything that would make me recommend this to a kid or person needing inspiration.

I was glad to read it to better set the timeline in real life compared to the movie and I liked some of the references to guys I watched wrestle in college, but the book was simply not good.

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