In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Mark Schultz won a gold medal in wrestling. His brother, Dave, won as well in a higher weight class. The Schultz brothers represented a dynasty in that part of the athletic world.
From the world stage, Mark was recruited to be the anchor for John du Pont’s world-class training camp on Foxcatcher Farm. Du Pont had tried to become an olympic-level athlete in a couple of events but never came close. He eventually gave up making it as an athlete and transferred his obsession to putting together a winning team.
As a du Pont, he had access to endless wealth and no real-life responsibilities. At the same time, the Schultzes were struggling to make ends meet as wrestling coaches at various colleges and keeping up with their own professional athletic schedules.
When John du Pont approached Mark to head up a premiere team and training camp, it seemed like a perfect arrangement. He would be able to focus solely on wrestling. And though Mark Schultz found John du Pont to be a strange person, he still opted to work with him. Things only got stranger from there. The bizarre months that followed would be illuminated when du Pont shot and killed Dave Schultz.
This is the pivot point of the book — the murder of Schultz and du Pont’s involvement in it. Unfortunately it makes up less than a third of the content. Most of the book is a summary of Mark Schultz’s wrestling career. It’s entitled Foxcatcher but the farm figures into it very little.
The book makes a point to preserve Mark Schultz’s voice and style, which is admirable but he is not a writer. The du Pont sections reflect a different writing style, which most likely were written by the assistant writer, David Thomas. Though the idea behind the story is a fascinating one, the presentation is a bit messy.
Thanks to the folks at Dutton for the review copy.
By Mark Schultz
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult (November 18, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches