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LIVE from the NYPL: JOE LOUIS vs MAX SCHMELING: How A Two-Minute Boxing Event Altered History A Conversation with David Margolick and Jeremy Schaap


September 26, 2005

Perhaps no moment in the history of sports was followed so intensely, and by so many people in so many places, as the two minutes and four seconds Joe Louis-Max Schmeling fight on June 22, 1938. The largest radio audience ever gathered, and gasped, as heavyweight champion Louis avenged his loss to the German Schmeling two years earlier, for far more than sports was at stake; it was black versus white, American versus German and, to millions of people on the eve of World War II and the Holocaust, freedom versus fascism. To the Nazis, Schmeling embodied a resurgent Germany, along with Aryan superiority; to blacks, Louis fired up race pride and foreshadowed an insipient civil rights movement in America. And to Jews, both in the United States and Europe, Louis became the first figure to stand up to Hitler, or at least to a fighter Hitler embraced. On September 26, 2005, the unforgettable 1938 original radio broadcast of Louis's stunning victory will be aired.

The story is told in Margolick's new book, Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink. David Margolick, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, has come to specialize in epic, two-minute chunks of history particularly the 1930s; his last book, Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song, was about Billie Holiday's classic anti-lynching anthem. He will be in conversation with Jeremy Schaap of ESPN, author of Cinderella Man.

About David Margolick:

David Margolick is a longtime contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where he writes about culture, the media, and politics. He also served as national legal affairs editor at The New York Times, where he wrote the weekly "At the Bar" column for seven years. His new book is Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink. Previously, he wrote Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song.

About Jeremy Schaap:

Jeremy Schaap, ESPN anchor and national correspondent, is a host of ESPN?s Outside the Lines, an issues-oriented news show and its acclaimed SportsCentury series. An Emmy Award-winning reporter, he has appeared on ABC?s World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News and has been published in Sports Illustrated, ESPN: the Magazine, Time, Parade, and The New York Times. He is the author of Cinderella Man.