In this monthly blog series, I review a sports audiobook from audible.co.uk
March’s audiobook was Mike’s Tyson’s autobiography “Undisputed Truth”.
Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography (Mike Tyson)
Sigh. I wanted to love Mike Tyson’s “Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography”. I find him a fascinating character and he was one of the first boxers I was aware of. I like boxing as a sport. And I knew Mike Tyson’s autobiography would be compelling stuff.
But I struggled with this book. It was just… too much. He was too much. I suppose that’s the point. But, honestly, I found it all too much to bear much of the time. There were days when I set off on my walk and chose to listen to a podcast instead, because I just didn’t want more of Mike’s horrible stories in my ears.
Mike’s autobiography got under my skin and unsettled me. Like his opponents, I was out on my feet before we even got to the fights (and, actually, there’s not much of the story given over to his fights nor to his training). The many excesses of Mike Tyson make for uncomfortable listening.
It wasn’t all bad. The early years – when he was under the mentorship of trainer and manager Cus D’Amato – were what I was hoping for. Full of strong, inspiring sports psychology, an insight into what went into the making of an undeniably great champion. D’Amato was presented as a persuasive, perhaps manipulative, very effective mentor who did a fine job of convincing a young Tyson that he was meant for greatness and would not – could not – be beaten.
But after Cus died I’m afraid it all went downhill, for Mike and for me.
The rest of the book was an exhausting barrage of womanising, violence and drug use in an emotional void. I felt like I was out for the count. I’m no prude but it was all just so depressing. And I couldn’t even find it in myself to feel sorry or sympathetic. I found myself desperately hoping there’d be some kind of reprieve at the end of the book but as time ticked on I realised that, nope, this was 99% of the story. Which I suppose it was.
I should mention that it’s not narrated by Mike himself – the narrator is Joshua Henry (I couldn’t find any info online about him) who does a great job of bringing the story and all its colourful characters to life. Maybe too good a job, and that was part of the problem for me. I found it difficult to listen to Mike’s awful stories, terrible treatment of people, and dismissive attitude to the pain he’d caused, narrated through the self-satisfied smile of an autodidact.
There is a reprieve of sorts, although I won’t spoil the “end” (and those of you who are Tyson fans will no doubt have kept yourselves up to date with his career anyway). But it was barely enough to make up for the battering I’d taken by sticking with Mike and his story. I was relieved when it was all over, to be honest. Happy that he’d found some peace, desperately sorry for him over the death of his child, and pleased that he’d been given a second career in acting. But I think I can safely say I won’t be listening to this book again. I might scan back for some of D’Amato’s best motivational quotes. But I’ll leave Mike to it. Peace out, Mike.
Let me know if you have a favourite sports book you’d like me to review, or if there’s a title in Audible’s library which you’ve had your eye on.
Audible.co.uk is the UK’s leading provider of new and classic audiobooks and has a range of autobiographies, investigative journalism and sports training titles.
Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography (Mike Tyson) is available only from audible.co.uk
Audible asked me to write the reviews and provided me with free credits for the purpose.
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.