Skip to main content

Lewis Erenberg, PhD

Professor, History

The Greatest Fight of Our Generation: Louis vs. Schmeling

Oxford University Press; publication date: 2005

(ISBN: 0195177746)


In 1938 the American heavyweight champion Joe Louis and his German challenger Max Schmeling met in a fight of epic international proportions. A rematch after Schmeling won the first bout, this fight brought together simmering tensions between the two fighters, Germany and America, whites and blacks, and fascism and democracy. In an era of depression and international tension, the bout between Louis and Schmeling attracted the attention of the entire world, symbolized the growing battle of African Americans against racism, and forced white Americans to choose between rooting for a white man, who was considered a Nazi, and a black man who carried American national hopes into the ring.

Professor, History