Ringmaster: Vince McMahon and the Unmaking of America


Product Details

$29.99  $27.89
Atria Books
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.1 X 1.7 inches | 1.58 pounds

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About the Author

Abraham Josephine Riesman is a journalist and essayist, as well as the author of the biographies Ringmaster: Vince McMahon and the Unmaking of America and True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee. She was a longtime staffer at New York magazine and its culture site, Vulture, and her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, VICE, The New Republic, and elsewhere. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with her spouse and their cats.


"Though it's hard to pinpoint the date, one morning wrestling fans like myself woke up and realized the pastime that had largely defined our youths and imaginations had jumped the firewall and, somehow, some way, began infecting the rest of the world. What Abraham Riesman has done here is invite readers to see that fundamental and disturbing truth, to wrestle with just how we've come to live in this bizarre un-reality, and possibly begin sorting through the wreckage. An absolute triumph. As must-read as must-read can get." --Jared Yates Sexton, author of The Midnight Kingdom: A History of Power, Paranoia, and the Coming Crisis
"Abraham Riesman has given us a fascinating, rigorously researched account of the life and times of the ultimate ringmaster, Vince McMahon. This is the story of how the world of professional wrestling has become our world. The rules of the game are now so gamed in American politics and daily life that the real, if ever there was a real, has gone up in a puff of hyperbolic smoke-and-mirrors. Ringmaster helps us to see how we got to this point. How we get ourselves out of it remains an open question." --Sharon Mazer, author of Professional Wrestling: Sport and Spectacle
"No faking! Ringmaster is one of the best biographies I've read in years -- smart, entertaining, impressively reported, and beautifully written. Wrestling fans will devour it, but everyone who wants to better understand this crazy country and one of its truly original characters ought to read it." --Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life
"Ringmaster is riveting, essential reading even if, like me, you have no taste for professional wrestling. All you need is an appetite for good stories of how the best--which is to say, the worst--conmen get over. Follow Abraham Riesman through that looking glass, and you even may creep closer to understanding how the U.S. managed to make one president."--Rick Perlstein, New York Times bestselling author of Nixonland and Reaganland
"RINGMASTER examines how seemingly innocuous pastimes like professional wrestling have shaped American culture and warped it beyond measure. In Abraham Riesman's telling, Vince McMahon emerges as a powerful figure of terrifying complexity, his rise and fall in lockstep with the country's. RINGMASTER brilliantly pulls back the curtain of kayfabe to reveal the pulsating reality underneath--and how the lines, once blurred, can never be separated again."--Sarah Weinman, bestselling author of The Real Lolita and Scoundrel
"To understand what's at the heart of carny culture is to understand what's at the heart of a huge swath of the American experience. As Abraham Riesman demonstrates in this highly readable, sharp and compelling book, professional wrestling embodies this idea both on screen and off, in the arenas and in the conference rooms. This is a serious work about the legacy of confidence games, abandonment, abuse and power. Whether or not you are a lifelong wrestling mark like me, Ringmaster is essential reading."--Brian Koppelman, cocreator of Billions and cowriter of Rounders
"This revelatory biography of Vince McMahon argues convincingly that pro wrestling can explain contemporary America. It's a knockout."
--Publishers Weekly, Starred review
"A vivid, warts-and-all portrait of the man behind WrestleMania--and much of the worst of contemporary politics."--Kirkus
"If you're vaguely interested in a ludicrously buff mogul who booked himself to beat God in a wrestling match, or just interested in the definitive book on America's last truly riveting carny showman, this is a story that forces you to turn the page. But this book isn't just about Vince McMahon, the ringmaster. It's about his circus of abused elephants, magicians, musclemen dipped in bleach, and acrobats who fall to their death, a "family business" which turned into the bloodiest version of Succession."--The Spectator