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Rocky Marciano : the rock of his times
Russell Sullivan
Adult Nonfiction GV1132.M3 S85 2002

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Sullivan, a business writer and owner of a corporate education company, offers a solid if unspectacular biography of the only undefeated heavyweight champion in history. He recounts Marciano's career from his first professional fight in 1947 through his death in a plane crash in 1969, looking at the sports hero as a symbol of both the optimism and the darker cultural currents of the 1950s. Sullivan provides a detailed and complete history of Marciano's fights, as well as some rich contextual background on the characters and atmosphere of boxing during the 1950s. Marciano, the child of Italian immigrants, who grew up in working class Brockton, Mass., was presented by the press as the ideal '50s man: a wholesome, patriotic family man with an all-American rags-to-riches story and worshipped by his fans as such. He was another Great White Hope in a sport dominated by black men, and though many 1950s sportswriters strove for a colorblind approach, it was nonetheless clear that they rooted for Rocky. The cultural analysis is the strongest part of the book; Russell's portrait of the private man (sometimes ambivalent about his family and notoriously obsessed with collecting and never spending money) is well researched and complex, but hampered by his often clunky and repetitive writing style. Though Marciano never achieved the popularity of Ali or Louis, his story offers a fascinating glimpse of boxing at midcentury and boxing buffs will be glad to have this overdue biography. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Ask the average boxing fan who were the greatest heavyweight champions, and chances are that names such as Louis, Ali, and Dempsey will quickly pop up. Some who fancy themselves historians might chime in with Jack Johnson or even John L. Sullivan. Only after these choices will most people get around to Rocky Marciano, a plodding, many said clumsy, fighter willing to take ten blows to get in the big knockout punch of his own. But Rocky had one thing over all these guys he fought 49 pro fights and never lost, retiring as champion in 1956. In this biography, Sullivan, a Boston-area business writer, examines Marciano the fighter and Marciano the person, a man who symbolized his era as much as Ali did his. Along the way, Sullivan also offers excellent portraits of Marciano's nemeses Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott, Archie Moore, and others and gives a sense of big-time boxing in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the sport trailed only baseball in popularity. Essential for all boxing collections. Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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