David Margolick is the author of Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. (May 2007)

The Reader in the Ring

Nearly eighty years later, my father can still recall the scene outside the Windsor Hotel in Montreal: the dashing and immaculately dressed young man in a felt hat standing by a sleek car—a Packard, probably, or maybe a Cadillac—supervising the bellhops as they loaded his luggage. The man in question …