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An Australian hero torn between family and country 'Put Les Darcy in a uniform and the men of Australia will march to hell behind him.' that was the message.
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Not only did the writer keep me engaged in the boxing contests of Darcy and his determination to pr I had heard the name Les Darcy, but didn't know anything about him. Not only did the writer keep me engaged in the boxing contests of Darcy and his determination to provide for his family, but also the ramifications of WWI, the huge toll of young men lost to this war. How would have Darcy's family, and other families survived when the breadwinner was sent off to fight in these times? The Irish rebellion and its impact in Australia was something I was not aware of.

Learnt a lot by reading this book.

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Mar 14, Peter Metcalfe rated it it was amazing. Great story about a very misunderstood part of Australian history and myth. Mar 10, Peter Langston rated it it was ok Shelves: I came to this with great anticipation, having read several Fitzsimons biographies previously and with only sketchy knowledge of Darcy. He was revered by members of my father's extended family. The result was a disappointing one, the writing style being too colloquial and the evidence having been presented on the main element of Darcy's life, his refusal to enlist. The author draws no conclusions, other than unspoken acquiescence by his descriptions of Les Darcy's post death fame.

I suspect the s I came to this with great anticipation, having read several Fitzsimons biographies previously and with only sketchy knowledge of Darcy. I suspect the subject's death from infection at such an early age has allowed his character to be redeemed and not questioned further as he aged. Darcy remains a folklore hero to the working class, despite hiding behind his mother's refusal to sign enlistment papers, his excuses of responsibility to family rather than King and his middle of the night clandestine flight - without permission - to America days before his 21 birthday.

With Billy Hughes threatening conscription and his mother's permission no longer valid at his coming of age, he was left with no where to hide. Despite the author's colourful post painting of Darcy as an Irish Catholic hero who somehow identified with the Easter Uprising and other classic class and political excuses, it never quite washes down well. Darcy, like some working class heroes, uses connections he establishes because of his skill in the ring, drives a flash car, buys his parents a property and exhausts the meagre talent pool in Australia.

When it came to the bigger challenge of going to the USA to take on the world, he declined, going there only when he had to face khaki. Dec 25, Coralie rated it really liked it. I read this through Book Club and thought 'oh no Great characters, bringing history to life..

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I read this back in May so I'm sorry I can't be more specific Jul 02, Julie Bye rated it liked it. I dislike boxing but I love Australian history. Fitzsimmons has captured a sense of Darcy's era. His writing style is easy and the book took no time at all to read. Boxing fans will enjoy it even more.

Bringing Les Darcy's story to the silver screen

I had a vague idea of Darcy's story but this is as much a tale of media power and irresponsibility as it is a sporting tale. Jun 12, Diane rated it liked it Shelves: This story takes place in Australia mostly. I have never followed boxing, and he was a boxer. So the description of the matches he fought and his opponents were not as interesting to me. So I gave it an "I liked it" instead of "I really liked it. Dec 08, John rated it really liked it. FitzSimons has captured the mood of Darcy's times.

The Ballad of Les Darcy by Peter FitzSimons

It particularly interested me as I had once prepared a mortgage over the house and land that Darcy bought for his parents in East Maitland and I also met Darcy's mentor Maurie O'Sullivan who was chairman of the Sydney Cricket Ground and local member for Paddington in the 50's. Apr 18, Mark Glidden rated it it was amazing Shelves: A concise yet incredibly poignant biography of a true Aussie hero who deserves more recognition.

Peter FitzSimons' cordial, frank and conversational style of writing somehow captures the Australian style of speech and thus the book captures the essence of the Australian character of its subject, all the while retaining a pathos of the short, and somewhat tragic life, of Darcy. Oct 17, Chris Walker rated it really liked it. This is a great yarn. It is much more than a story about an Australian boxing legend.

You don't even need to know who Les Darcy was I didn't. It captures the history and thinking of the times very well and describes the poignant predicament Darcy found himself in and the sad results. Jul 29, Pam Ela rated it really liked it. A very interesting biography of a tragic hero. Oct 08, Velvetink rated it liked it Shelves: Feb 02, Kaine Palmer rated it it was amazing Shelves: A short biographical account of a great Australian boxing legend, not often mentioned in modern circles.

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Oct 08, WiLL rated it it was amazing. Feb 07, Anthony rated it really liked it. Great book about one of my Grandfather's heroes. Truly a religious giant and a man of priniciples. Great read and well written.


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Aug 05, Julie rated it liked it Shelves: I enjoyed this book. It covers the life of an interesting person and the "politics" of the time.

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Sep 29, Evan rated it really liked it. This was thrown in for free when I bought another book. I would not have thought to buy it otherwise. Much more that I expected it to be. Sep 04, Bc Beats rated it liked it. Entertaining read, and a poignant story about an Aussie sporting legend. Finding Fifth rated it really liked it Jan 25, Merridy Jury rated it liked it Aug 01, Sarah rated it it was amazing Feb 24, Darcy became embroiled in the politics of conscription during the First World War , and left Australia for the United States to avoid the aggravation.

He died on 24 May from septicaemia and medical complications, which was speculated to be from dental work he received to replace teeth that had been knocked out during a bout. After his death, Darcy's embalmed body was returned to Australia, where an estimated half-million people paid their respects. The character of Darcy has no singing role but is portrayed by a dancer, and draws on the story that he played the violin to prepare himself for fights.

Pictures held and digitised as part of the Arnold Thomas boxing collection by the National Library of Australia. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Any conflicting data is footnoted. Billy Hannan, one of Darcy's opponents, describes it as a 'ponced-up dump' Park and Champion, p. Retrieved 17 February Darcy fought the April bout under the name of 'Pat Donohue', and the July bout under his real name Park and Champion, p.

Maitland, New South Wales: Les Darcy, Australia's golden boy of boxing. Park, Ruth; Champion, Rafe Fighters of the North: A saga of early battling days on the Northern fistic front.


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