Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 | Books, Radio, Wrestling | No Comments
Mike was a guest on No Holds Barred, hosted by Eddie Goldman, discussing his recently completed book on undefeated college wrestler, 1920 Olympic silver medalist wrestler, pro catch wrestler and shooter, and Hollywood actor Nat Pendleton
The conversation covered Pendleton wrestling for Columbia (which had the first college wrestling program in the country), where he never lost a match; his national tournament titles; his Olympic silver medal; and his days as in the pro wrestling world.
The conversation also covered a legendary pro catch wrestling match which Nat Pendleton had in 1923 with the great John Pesek, which is one of the last real, or shoot, matches in pro wrestling. Held in Boston with heavy newspaper coverage, Pesek was able to defeat Pendleton by submission in two straight falls.
Finally, there was discussion on the legacy of Nat Pendleton for college wrestling and his alma mater, Columbia; the lessons of the devolution of catch wrestling last century into a staged spectacle; what the re-emerging catch wrestling movement of today has to learn about good governance of the sport and the battle against corruption from the tragedy of the real sport’s demise in the past; and much more.
You can listen to the podcast here:
Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 | Books | No Comments
The amazing career of Nat Pendleton is the subject of an exciting new book by Mike, generally recognized as one of the nation’s leading wrestling historians and authors. Pendleton is one of the most important figures in early American wrestling history. Born in Iowa in 1895, he was an undefeated college star at Columbia University in New York City, a two-time AAU national champion, and silver medal winner in the 1920 Olympics.
Nat turned to pro wrestling during its transitional period from athletic contest to show business and participated in one of the most talked-about matches in pro wrestling history. His opponent in that 1923 match was the feared submission expert, John Pesek, and the outcome has been the subject of considerable discussion for nearly nine decades.
Shortly after the match, Nat moved to Hollywood and appeared in nearly 100 movies – one of the most successful athletes to ever appear in films!
The book has 60 photos, some never published before. The foreword was written by Andy Barth, who was a Colombia University wrestling team captain many decades after Nat Pendleton held the same position. Andy is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and one of wrestling’s top supporters. Here is part of what Andy wrote: “I want to thank Mike Chapman for working so diligently to research and write this biography. This is a great read that touches at the core of what the sport of wrestling can do for young men and women to strengthen and develop their character in the areas of determination, perseverance and a will to succeed. I am proud to have walked the same halls and shared in the same heritage as Nat Pendleton.”
You can add this book to your wrestling library for just $14.95, and $5 for shipping and handling. Send a check or money order for $19.95 to — Culture House, P.O. Box 293, Newton, Iowa, 50208, or call 641-791-3072 for more information.
Monday, August 18th, 2014 | Book Signing, Books, Iowa History Journal | No Comments
Mike was a special guest at the Iowa History Journal booth at the Iowa State Fair last week. He signed dozens of books for fairgoers and hung out with Michael and Rebecca Swanger, the new owners of Iowa History Journal. Bev also worked at the Fair two days.
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 | Books | No Comments
The book Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story was published in 2009 and all 2,000 copies quickly sold out. We have had so many requests for books that we have reprinted a select number. This will be the last reprint so order it now.
Dan Hodge is one of the most fascinating athletes in American history. He was a three-time undefeated NCAA champion for the University of Oklahoma in the 1950s, and was known as the greatest pinner of all time. His junior year, Hodge won the 177-pound NCAA title with all pins, then the national freestyle AND Greco-Roman national titles a month later, again all with pins. That’s three national championships with 14 straight pins. Dan won a silver medal in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. He was robbed of the gold medal and the story is revealed in the book.
Friday, April 19th, 2013 | Books, Wrestling | No Comments
“How much do you know about Mankind’s Oldest Sport?”
That is the question posed on the cover of the new wrestling book written by the sport’s most prolific writer. Mike Chapman’s Super Book of Wrestling Trivia brings to the reader some of the most memorable events in the history of Mankind’s Oldest Sport.
“The three main goals of the book are to educate young people about the grand heritage of the sport and to entertain older readers with a nostalgic trip into the past,” said Chapman. “And to have a little fun along the way.”
Wrestling has been around for at least 5,000 years. The book has separate chapters on wrestling in antiquity, in early America, in the NCAAs, and international wrestling, including the Olympics. There are also sections on professional wrestling, wrestling as a part of mixed martial arts, wrestling in the military, and wrestling in pop culture.
The 176-page book features nearly 50 photos. Included are a classic sketch of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob wrestling the angel of the Lord, as described in the Bible in Genesis; photos of Kirk Douglas wrestling in the 1955 movie “Ulysses,” about the Greek hero during the time of the Trojan War, and Tom Cruise wrestling in the 1989 film “Born on the 4th of July.”
Monday, May 28th, 2012 | Books, Wrestling | No Comments
The city of Walnut has announced the dedication of Pearl Street in Walnut to be designated the Earl Caddock Memorial Drive in honor of the town’s most famous citizen. Author Mike Chapman will be a part of the ceremony on Sunday morning, June 17, giving a short address and signing copies of his book on Earl.
Earl Caddock came off an Iowa farm to become a great amateur wrestler and then won the world heavyweight championship of professional wrestling, back when the sports was a true athletic contest. He was an AAU national champion, in 1914 and 1915, but the cancellation of the 1916 Olympics ended his amateur career. With Frank Gotch of Humboldt, Iowa, acknowledged as the top athlete in America at the time, Caddock decided to follow Gotch into professional wrestling. On April 9, 1917, he took a perfect record of 79-0 (53-0 as an amateur and 26-0 as a pro) into the ring in Omaha to take on the world champion, Joe Stecher. After more than two hours of grueling wrestling, Earl Caddock emerged as the heavyweight champion of the world.
In 1919 and 1920, Caddock was one of the nation’s most popular athletes, standing alongside such legendary figures as Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Jim Thorpe.
At the peak of his sports career, Caddock enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight in World War I and served gallantly in France as a doughboy, suffering lung damage from gas attacks. He returned to make his home in Walnut, Iowa. After three more years of wrestling, Caddock retired from the ring and began a successful career as a businessman in both Walnut and in Omaha. Caddock is buried in the Layton Cemetery just east of Walnut on Pearl St.
A new book, CADDOCK: Walnut’s Wrestling Wonder, was written by Mike Chapman, noted wrestling author and historian, and published by Culture House Books of Newton, in cooperation with the city of Walnut. Mike will be on hand for the dedication and available for book signing after the event. Members of the Caddock family will also attend.
The dedication is June 17, at 9 AM, in conjunction with the Walnut Antique Show. The dedication ceremony will be held in front of the Village Blacksmith Shop antique store located one block east of Antique City Drive on Pearl Street. Earl Caddock built this building as one of his businesses during the early part of the 20th century.
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 | Books | No Comments
Mike received the following letter recently from a reader. It was really touching. Thank you sincerely, Mr. LaVeck, for the kind words.
I wanted to let you know how much my son and I have enjoyed your books, but in particular our experience reading “Gotch: An American Hero.”
My son just turned 12 and is an avid wrestler. We live in Maryland and he competes all over the mid-Atlantic and we both love the sport.
We have several of your books, but this week we were on spring break and Alexander and I decided to finally get to your novel about Frank Gotch. We sat on the balcony of an oceanfront condominium every day for the past 6 days and completed the entire book together.
It was a rewarding experience to read the book and allow the fictionalized account of Gotch’s life to illuminate what we had already learned through your non-fiction materials.
We often read together, but I know this will likely be a joint reading experience that we both remember for the rest of our lives, not only because of the beautiful location, but because we both enjoyed the story, and the writing so much and we now are both huge admirers of Frank Gotch…and we both have you to thank for that.
Thank you very much…we already have “Caddock” but we are looking forward to all of your future titles.
Art LaVeck (and Alexander)
Sunday, February 19th, 2012 | Books, Radio, Wrestling | No Comments
Mike was interviewed last Thursday on the podcast No Holds Barred, with host Eddie Goldman. You can listen to the interview below:
The interview focused on Earl Caddock, his place in wrestling history, Mike’s new book, and what was going on in pro wrestling at the time he competed. The discussion continue into the long heritage of wrestling, the Caddock-Stecher match of 1920, the importance of real wrestlers like Frank Gotch, and how the era of real matches faded quickly after Caddock lost his title. Also examined is the current revival of catch-as-catch-can wrestling and what it would take to bring back a form of real pro wrestling.
Goldman also links, on his site, to a youtube video of the match in which Caddock lost his title to Joe Stecher, on January 30, 1920 at Madison Square Garden in New York:
Upcoming Speeches and Appearances
- August 26, 2014 – Speaking in Forest City
Calendar of Appearances