The captivating story of how The Sheik captured the imagination of a generation, conquered the wrestling business, and lost it all in a blaze of flame and glory
He was the most vicious, bloodthirsty, reviled villain in the history of the ring. During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, he drew record crowds everywhere he went and left a trail of burned and bloody opponents in his wake. He was The Sheik: the mysterious and terrifying madman from Syria whose wanton destruction and mayhem are the stuff of wrestling legend. But what those legions of fans screaming for his head never knew was that The Sheik was really Eddie Farhat.
From Lansing, Michigan, and the son of Arab immigrants, Farhat served his country proudly in World War II and was fulfilling the American dream through hard work and tireless dedication to his craft. And when he wasn’t screaming unintelligibly and attacking his enemies with sharp objects, he was busy being the owner and operator of World Wide Sports, one of the most successful wrestling companies in North America.
This is Blood and Fire: The Unbelievable Real-Life Story of Wrestling’s Original Sheik.
Solomon (WWE Legends), a writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated, takes an exhilarating look at the life of Ed "The Sheik" Farhat (1926–2003), "the man whose barbarous and animalistic reputation made him the most feared and famous wrestling villain on the planet." While Solomon argues that no one "lived and breathed the illusion" of pro wrestling like the Sheik, he works to dispel the myths around him, focusing on the years that came before Farhat's worldwide fame—from the wave of immigration in the early 20th century that brought his parents to "the Lebanese enclave in suburban Detroit," to his service in WWII and "Army wrestling pedigree" that led to his early career in the ring in 1947. In describing Farhat at the height of his popularity in the 1960s—when flashing images of obscene wealth and playing a "brutish foreigner" became part of his major gimmick—Solomon never overlooks Farhat's astuteness as a marketer "play into American stereotypes of Eastern and Arabic culture to his great advantage." But, at the same time, he doesn't gloss over the "touchy subjects rarely discussed" about the wrestling legend's history, including his marital infidelity and rampant drug use. Replete with eye-catching photos and meticulously researched, the narrative is as keen and captivating as its subject. This is a must-read for wrestling fans.