Now in paperback From the first page to the last, Klein s prose retains its powers of enchantment and illumination. It is one of the best boxing books ever penned. Boston Globe A] muscular, relentlessly detailed book. Wall Street Journal I can lick any son-of-a-bitch in the world. So boasted John L. Sullivan, the first modern heavyweight boxing champion of the world, a man who was the gold standard of American sport for more than a decade, and the first athlete to earn more than a million dollars. He had a big ego, big mouth, and bigger appetites. His womanizing, drunken escapades, and chronic police-blotter presence were godsends to a burgeoning newspaper industry. The larger-than-life boxer embodied the American Dream for late nineteenth-century immigrants as he rose from Boston s Irish working class to become the most recognizable man in the nation. In the process, the Boston Strong Boy transformed boxing from outlawed bare-knuckle fighting into the gloved spectacle we know today. Strong Boy tells the story of America s first sports superstar, a self-made man who personified the power and excesses of the Gilded Age. Everywhere John L. Sullivan went, his fists backed up his bravado. Sullivan s epic brawls, such as his 75-round bout against Jake Kilrain, and his cross-country barnstorming tour in which he literally challenged all of America to a fight are recounted in vivid detail, as are his battles outside the ring with a troubled marriage, wild weight and fitness fluctuations, and raging alcoholism. Strong Boy gives readers ringside seats to the colorful tale of one of the country s first Irish-American heroes and the birth of the American sports media and the country s celebrity obsession with athletes."
Globe Pequot Press, The
The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America's First Sports Hero