Dan Madigan's book Mondo Lucha a Go-Go: the Bizarre and Honorable World of Wild Mexican Wrestling is a colorful whirlwind romp through the mythos and phenomenon of lucha libre (though sadly the book is not related to Milwaukee's own Mondo Lucha shows). Those of us who grew up in the eighties and nineties remember the American pro-wrestling boom period, when Hulkamania ran wild, the Macho Man was dropping elbows and shilling for Slim Jim, and we could all smell what The Rock was cooking. Yet as big as wrestling got in the States, in terms of being a cultural touchstone it was nothing compared to lucha libre and Mexican culture. Madigan's book clearly comes from a place of genuine adoration and respect. He loves lucha, and this helps the book immensely; the tone is enthusiastic, like a friend eager to tell you all about this amazing thing you just have to see for yourself. He fills the book with both his own anecdotes and a decent history of not only lucha as a whole, but many of its iconic stars as well.
No book on lucha would be complete without those stories, though Madigan's effort to include the stories of so many of lucha's stars sadly leaves a few of their entries seeming too brief. The coverage of the other true phenomena of lucha - the lucha film (wherein masked wrestlers battle aliens and mummies and all sorts of threats to the world while still making it to their scheduled matches in the ring) is also all too brief, barely scratching the surface on a rich and interesting tradition. That said, what Madigan has assembled is one of the best American-written books on lucha. The book is full of fun facts and colorful pictures (including some fabulous images of lucha film posters in all their glory). For those who want to learn more about lucha libre and its place in Mexican culture, this is definitely a good book to read.
Tim @ Central