The Queen of the Ring

Sex, Muscles, Diamonds, and the Making of an American Legend

Jeff Leen

Featured reviews of
The Queen of the Ring

“A book as engrossing and entertaining as it is unlikely. Through meticulous research and fine storytelling, Jeff Leen gives us not only the biography of a remarkable female athlete, but the strange, compelling tale of a lost epoch.”

—Rick Atkinson, author of An Army at Dawn

“This is a jaw-dropping book. Leen’s rediscovery of the life and times of Mildred Burke reads like Ring Lardner, seasoned by Raymond Chandler. The Queen of the Ring is tight, tough, and droll-and like its protagonist, an American original.”

—Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens

“It’s not really about wrestling. It’s about greed, desire, treachery, and most of all guts. Millie Burke had ‘em. And Jeff Leen has all the goods.”

—Richard Ben Cramer, author of New York Times best seller Joe DiMaggio

“Jeff Leen, a brilliant editor and investigative reporter, spins the inspiring tale of the remarkable Millie Burke, a Cinderella woman of the 1950s, the rhinestone Rocky of a vanished golden age.”

—Michael Capuzzo, author of Close to Shore

“Everybody who cares about professional wrestling will want to read Jeff Leen biography of Mildred Burke. But I have never cared about professional wrestling, and I read every page avidly. Why? Because Leen is a great reporter and writer who has produced a superb book within the genre I hold dear: biography.”

—Steve Weinberg, author of Taking on the Trust

“Jeff Leen rescues the greatest female wrestler who ever lived from the obscurity she never deserved. Burke triumphed over grinding poverty, predatory managers, cheating, callow lovers, beatings in and out of the ring, and a motley cast of ravenous schemers and con men that would make Damon Runyon blush.”

—Steve Friedman, author of The Agony of Victory

“Jeff Leen has made a fabulous contribution to the sports-history canon. The Queen of the Ring is a marvelous evocation of an era, and a riveting portrait of a one-of-a-kind American moll.”

—Sally Jenkins, author of The Real All Americans