Books | Sports

November 3, 2009

Wrestling with the Devil

It took a Faustian bargain for Mildred Burke to break the gender barrier in wrestling. Her biographer, Jeff Leen, tells Gelf about her forgotten legend.

Justin Adler

Jeff Leen describes the subject of his book The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds, and the Making of an American Legend as the "Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth of women's wrestling." Yet few self-described sports fanatics could tell you who Mildred Burke is. Through extensive research into the history of women's wrestling, Leen aims to rectify that oversight, shedding light on a woman who rose from a small, Depression-stricken Midwestern town to become one of the most important wrestlers of all time—only to sink into obscurity upon her death.

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Article by Justin Adler

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