Foxcatcher by Mark Schultz Review

cover of paperback for Foxcatcher

I was fascinated by how fast I was able to pull through “Foxcatcher” by Mark Schultz. This is a book that was made into a documentary and full movie. I haven’t seen either options, but if they are anything like this book, holy crap, what a story. This is a book that came out in 2014 and has been one of the best stories that I’ve read about wrestling since “Vision Quest”. The book follows the story of Dave and Mark Schultz and the insanity of a billionaire. It dives into the reaches of what it means to be an athlete, what it’s like to lose a sibling, and how far you’ll go to win Olympic gold.

Woa! Sorry to stop your flow of reading. I wanted to interject and say that this is an older review. I know, old content isn’t always great. However, if you’re reading this, just know that this is a review that I wrote after reading the book in 2018. I’m working on 2019’s reviews, and will post them as I can, but this is from my archives. Sorry to break up the flow again, just continue reading, and please try the fish! I mean, buy the book.

John du Pont is portrayed as an eccentric, insane person. What you learn is that with money, you can do almost anything, including collecting people to do your bidding. His love and passion for wrestling made it so that he hired top athletes to wrestle for his team, so that he could watch them, be around them, and transform the sport. This happens in professional wrestling a great deal. “Money marks” are what they are called. They have money and they put on independent wrestling shows because they have money, hiring all of their favorite wrestlers. The big lesson, of course, as you always get with these stories is that money cannot buy everything. John du Pont desperately tries to buy things, and people. He does so with great reckless abandon, and succeeds in a lot of ways to push himself into the world of wrestling, but fails when he goes insane and kills one of his wrestlers, and supposed friends.

Mark Schultz paints a fabulous picture of what it is like to be an amateur wrestler. There’s a lot of sacrifice, little money, and focus on the bigger glories that seem to just narrowly miss a lot of Olympians. He talks honestly about cutting weight, wrestling, and the desire to succeed in sports. You get everything from triumphs to utter failure to depression and more. There’s a lot to Schultz and he is brutally honest, without cursing, without getting into sordid details, and perhaps it’s because there were none. Yes, Schultz is not perfect, but his dedication to wrestling seems to put on a religious element at times, and this comes before he converts to LDS.

The best parts of “Foxcatcher” by Mark Schultz include the interactions that Mark has with John du Pont. At times you swear that du Pont was going to kill Mark, and not his brother. There is madness here, and something that comes with introversion, psychosis and more. It’s hard to tell where the roots of his madness are, but I can tell you that I haven’t read of a character in fiction that is quite as insane and yet composed as du Pont is. Mark paints him in an almost cartoon like manner, but it’s one of those things that define the adage of “truth is stranger than fiction”, and it’s found in the descriptions, mannerisms, and interactions with du Pont throughout this book.

I’ve read a lot of books this year, but out of all the things that I’ve read, “Foxcatcher” by Mark Schultz is my favorite thus far. 5 out of 5 all the way. Mark Schultz pulls backs the curtain of Olympic wrestling, college wrestling, and the obsession that people have with athletes of all different areas. I was impressed with the speed of the story, the length of the details, and the amazing story overall. This is a true American story, and one that you absolutely are going to enjoy, even if you’re not a fan of wrestling. I loved it.

You can buy “Foxcatcher” by Mark Schultz by clicking here and ordering it from Amazon.com.

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