From the bestselling author of The Prince of Providence, a revelatory biography of Rocky Marciano, the greatest heavyweight champion of all time.The son of poor Italian immigrants, with short arms and stubby legs, Rocky Marciano accomplished a feat that eluded legendary heavyweight champions like Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Muhammad Ali, and Mike Tyson: He never lost a professional fight. His record was a perfect 49-0. Unbeaten is the story of this remarkable champion who overcame injury, doubt, and the schemes of corrupt promoters to win the title in a bloody and epic battle with Jersey Joe Walcott in 1952. Rocky packed a devastating punch with an innocent nickname, "Suzie Q," against which there was no defense. As the champ, he came to know presidents and movie stars - and the organized crime figures who dominated the sport, much to his growing disgust. He may have "stood out in boxing like a rose in a garbage dump," as one sportswriter said, but he also fought his own private demons. In the hands of the award-winning journalist and biographer Mike Stanton, Unbeaten is more than just a boxing story. It's a classic American tale of immigrant dreams, exceptional talent wedded to exceptional ambitions, compromises in the service of a greater good, astounding success, disillusionment, and a quest to discover what it all meant. Like Suzie Q, it will knock you off your feet.
"This is a surprising book, a terrific book. It's not about boxing, but about an odd, demanding world in which boxing is the thread, the key to existence. Wiley deftly broadens the delineation of this world and its people. Perceptive reporting is the foundation and perceptive reporting is rare enough. Wiley enhances it with clear, quick writing laced with humor and with a sensitivity that lends brilliance to this impressive work."-Robert W. Creamer, author of Baseball and Other Matters in 1941. "Ralph Wiley, with Serenity, has produced an original book about the ring. . . . He can dig beneath the surface and show us what really happened in a bout: why Thomas Hearns, with too much faith in his powerful right hand, lost to Sugar Ray Leonard in their first match. . . . Or why Roberto Dur n was acting out of prudence, not cowardice, when he quit in his second fight against Leonard. . . . Yet the book is not really about boxing. Boxing in Serenity is what T. S. Eliot, speaking of plot, called the meat a burglar brings to distract the watchdog. The book is really about growing up in a world where you had to defend yourself physically to survive."-New York Times. "Wiley's rapport with boxers is profound."-Publisher's Weekly. "Wiley is one writer who really knows his way around a boxing ring. . . . He writes] with passion and understanding about complex, violent men and their oddly redemptive sport."-Booklist. Ralph Wiley is the author or coauthor of several works, most recently Born to Play: The Eric Davis Story.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lenin's Tomb explores the transformation of a young boxer into an internationally renowned athlete, mythic hero, American icon, and central figure in the twentieth century's social, cultural, and racial conflicts. 125,000 first printing. Tour.
A beautifully crafted memoir about fathers and sons, masculinity, and the lengths we sometimes go to in order to confront our pastA] lucidly written memoir . . . Coffin's triumph lies in ridding the language of his father, a language that compelled him to dwell in a house he did not recognize. --Matthew Janney, The Los Angeles Review of Books
While lifting weights in the Seldon Jackson College gymnasium on a rainy autumn night, Jaed Coffin heard the distinctive whacking sound of sparring boxers down the hall. A year out of college, he had been biding his time as a tutor at a local high school in Sitka, Alaska, without any particular life plan. That evening, Coffin joined a ragtag boxing club. For the first time, he felt like he fit in. Coffin washed up in Alaska after a forty-day solo kayaking journey. Born to an American father and a Thai mother who had met during the Vietnam War, Coffin never felt particularly comfortable growing up in his rural Vermont town. Following his parents' prickly divorce and a childhood spent drifting between his father's new white family and his mother's Thai roots, Coffin didn't know who he was, much less what path his life should follow. His father's notions about what it meant to be a man--formed by King Arthur legends and calcified in the military--did nothing to help. After college, he took to the road, working odd jobs and sleeping in his car before heading north. Despite feeling initially terrified, Coffin learns to fight. His coach, Victor "the Savage," invites him to participate in the monthly Roughhouse Friday competition, where men contend for the title of best boxer in southeast Alaska. With every successive match, Coffin realizes that he isn't just fighting for the championship belt; he is also learning to confront the anger he feels about a past he never knew how to make sense of. Deeply honest and vulnerable, Roughhouse Friday is a meditation on violence and abandonment, masculinity, and our inescapable longing for love. It suggests that sometimes the truth of what's inside you comes only if you push yourself to the extreme.
Jack Dempsey was perfectly suited to the time in which he fought, the time when the United States first felt the throb of its own overwhelming power. For eight years and two months after World War I, Dempsey, with his fierce good looks and matchless dedication to the kill, was heavyweight champion of the world. A Flame of Pure Fire is the extraordinary story of a man and a country growing to maturity in a blaze of strength and exuberance that nearly burned them to ash. Hobo, roughneck, fighter, lover, millionaire, movie star, and, finally, a gentleman of rare generosity and sincerity, Dempsey embodied an America grappling with the confusing demands of preeminence. Dempsey lived a life that touched every part of the American experience in the first half of the twentieth century. Roger Kahn, one of our preeminent writers about the human side of sport, has found in Dempsey a subject that matches his own manifold talents. A friend of Dempsey's and an insightful observer of the ways in which sport can measure a society's evolution, Kahn reaches a new and exciting stage in his acclaimed career with this book. In the story of a man John Lardner called "a flame of pure fire, at last a hero," Roger Kahn finds the heart of America.
Perhaps no other figure in recent history has had the wide-reaching impact of the man many know simply as "The Greatest." For four decades Muhammad Ali has been a symbol of honesty and strength in sports, politics, religion, and civil rights. Throughout his remarkable career, Ali was one who truly had to be seen to be believed. But while Ali's achievements have frequently been chronicled in prose, never before has his extraordinary career been documented in images. Muhammad Ali: Ringside is dedicated to one of the most popular athlete-entertainers of all time. Included are vintage posters and programs, fight tickets, handwritten letters, classic photographs, speeches, scorecards, contracts, and rare autographs -- all from Ali's personal memorabilia. Divided chronologically into four sections, one for each decade from the 1960s to the 1990s, the book includes written narrative recountings of Ali's accomplishments by noted writers and entertaining quotes from Ali's contemporaries.