Daniel Mendoza is unarguably among the most important boxers in the history of the sport.
Begetter of the Golden Age of British pugilism, one populated by dandies and royals, characterised by the bludgeon and revolution, Mendoza turned what had been a contest of brute strength with the indiscipline of a street brawl into what some called a science, some an art – but certainly a sport. As a publicist, he was expert manipulator of public opinion. More than this, he used the anti-Semitism of his times to his own benefit, and in so doing raised the social status of his fellow Jews. His final achievement was to have written what may be the first sports autobiography, his memoirs. He was, in all these many respects, quite exceptional, a superstar. Or, as one contemporary put it, ‘The Complete Artist’.
Astonishingly, this is the first full biography of one of Britain’s greatest sporting heroes.
Wynn Wheldon is the author of ‘Kicking the Bar’ (Unbound, 2016), a filial biography of broadcaster Huw Wheldon, and of several volumes of poetry. He was the compiler of and contributor to, among many other anthologies, ‘The Father and Child Companion’ (MQP, 2005). He reviews regularly for the Spectator and Commentary (US).