Not revealing the source of any fiction involved, Nagler constructs a portrait of boxing kingpin James Norris out of what purport to be verbatim conversations, out of recorded fact and out of innuendo. The skullduggery, though, is entertaining. Lending background to Norris are the machinations of ""Blinky"" Palermo, Mike Jacobs, Frankie Carbo (Paul John Carbo, alias Paul John, alias Frank Russo, etc., with five arrests for murder) and several covert horticulturists from Madison Square Garden. Joe Louis emerges as a pathetic king whose loyalties run dollar deep and who has fallen among lions. When Louis decided to retire as champion, he set up a sub rosa corporation which intended to monopolize top heavyweight competition for his abdicated title. Controllership, though, was snitched from his mitts by James Norris, a rich Chicago sportsman with a handful of arenas and baseball and racing stables. Tall, handsome Norris loved to circulate among hoods. When he gained control of the Garden, he found his dictatorship severely cramped by the underworld, a fact he learned to live with. As various State and Federal investigation committees begin picking his empire to pieces, the corruption blooms with boxers who got cauliflower ears while diving. Norris himself remains a well-manicured enigma smelling of rosewater.