Cover for SULLIVAN: Rocky Marciano: The Rock of His Times. Click for larger image
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Rocky Marciano

The Rock of His Times

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the final fight of boxing's only undefeated heavyweight champion

In this captivating and complex portrait of an American sports legend, Russell Sullivan confirms Rocky Marciano's place as a symbol and cultural icon of his era. As much as he embodied the wholesome, rags-to-riches patriotism of a true American hero, he also reflected the racial and ethnic tensions festering behind the country's benevolent facade.

Spirited, fast-paced, and rich in detail, Rocky Marciano is the first book to place the boxer in the context of his times. Capturing his athletic accomplishments against the colorful backdrop of the 1950s fight scene, Sullivan examines how Marciano's career reflected the glamour and scandal of boxing as well as tenor of his times.

"In the early '90s, Marciano started slipping from our short long-term memory. Enter his poet, Russell Sullivan . . . Sullivan's book is not just a perfect paean to a pugilistic hero but also to a history of mid-century America as glimpsed from the corner window of what was then America's second most popular sport, professional boxing."--Los Angeles Times

"Russell Sullivan's revealing new biography . . . will refresh those of a certain age about a boxing legend and initiate others into the full, entertaining story."--Chicago Tribune

"The definitive Marciano biography."--Booklist

"When most boxing aficionados reminisce about the best heavyweight champions in history, they usually argue the grandeur of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey or Jack Johnson. Strangely, Rocky Marciano--the only heavyweight champion with a perfect record, 49-0 with 43 knockouts--is often forgotten. In Rocky Marciano: The Rock of His Times, the story of the undefeated heavyweight champion of a half-century ago has been resurrected. . . . More than anything else, the book assesses Marciano in the context of his times, the early 1950s, when his career reflected America's serene years before the marches of the civil rights movement, when boxing ranked second to baseball as America's favorite sport."--New York Times Book Review

"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."--Library Journal

"A fascinating glimpse of boxing at midcentury and boxing buffs will be glad to have this overdue biography."--Publishers Weekly

"Reading Rocky Marciano: The Rock of His Times is like opening an old steamer trunk and being overwhelmed by the aroma of a long-ago era and its fragrant memories. In capturing Marciano and the 1950s as few could, Russell Sullivan has given Rocky his fiftieth win."--Bert Randolph Sugar, author of 100 Years of Boxing

"The greatness of Marciano in the ring was defined by the way he prepared for a fight, his ability to punch and take a punch. Russell Sullivan combines the same elements in this book. It is the best research job ever on Marciano, is written in a straightforward manner, and doesn't pull any punches. This is the story of an athlete who made himself a great fighter and never forgot who he was, or where he came from. It is a book that is needed. Marciano is the most under- publicized great athlete of the last half century."--Will McDonough, Boston Globe sports columnist

"Rocky Marciano has never been awarded his due among the icons of Boston sports. Hopefully this book will help restore him to his proper place."--Roone Arledge, chairman of ABC News and former president of ABC Sports

"Marvelous. . . . Weaves real scholarship into an enthusiastic chronicling of Marciano's string of victories. Sullivan captures the fear of failure that drove Marciano to wade into bigger men, relentlessly dealing punishment from awkward angles until he had won all forty-nine of his professional bouts. This definitive biography accurately places Marciano in the larger context of his times."--Chris Mead, author of Champion: Joe Louis, Black Hero in White America

Russell Sullivan lives in the Boston area and is senior vice president and general counsel of Linkage, Inc., a corporate education company headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books and articles on business-related topics.

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