Charles McGarry on Benny: The Life and Times of a Fighting Legend

Charles McGarry talks about ‘Benny: The Life and Times of a Fighting Legend’, John Burrowes’ powerful tale of the rise and fall of legendary Scottish boxer Benny Lynch.
‘A perfect balance of detail and drama.’

As someone who has only a passing interest in boxing, I was amazed at how John Burrowes’ Benny: The Life and Times of a Fighting Legend, engaged and moved me. It tells of Benny Lynch, world flyweight champion of the Depression era who came from the notorious Gorbals area of my native Glasgow.

The book narrates Lynch’s sporting journey – notably the defining victory against Small Montana and the epic battles against Peter Kane – with a perfect balance of detail and drama.

Any great fighter – and this fellow was truly great – must invest a Herculean level of effort to reach his physical apex, but Lynch’s heroism was all the more in that he had to also face down his inner demons every day. Burrowes is accomplished at evoking a sense of place and time, but is particularly masterful at describing Lynch’s descent into alcoholism, which led to his tragically premature destruction.

Charles McGarry is a journalist and author of the critically acclaimed football novel The Road to Lisbon.

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