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Publisher's Summary

The Boxing Kings tells the story of the heavyweight title in the days when it was a defining institution in the United States. Author Paul Beston places special emphasis on those champions who held a central place in American culture beyond just in the boxing ring, including John L. Sullivan, who made the title a commercial property; Jack Johnson, who in 1908 became the first black man to claim the title; Joe Louis, whose contributions to racial tolerance and social progress transcended even his greatness in the ring; Rocky Marciano, who became an embodiment of the American dream; Muhammad Ali, who took on the US government and revolutionized professional sports with his showmanship; and Mike Tyson, a hard-punching student of boxing history who exemplified the modern celebrity.
The gallery of champions also includes comics, dandies, bookworms, divas, ex-cons, workingmen, and a tough guy turned preacher. The Boxing Kings treats these and other champions as three-dimensional human beings, flawed but sympathetic men placed on great public stages. As the title shifts from one claimant to another, their stories also open a window into the larger history of the United States.
©2017 Paul Beston (P)2017 HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By LSmith on 02-01-18

An outstanding book on heavyweight champions

For nearly a century, the title "Heavyweight Champion of the World" was not only prestigious in boxing,, but in America as well. This outstanding book on the men that have held the title makes that point and tells the story of how this title has changed, not always for the better.

While the entire history of the title in the 20th century is covered, Beston concentrates on the stories of the most influential or noteworthy boxers who held the title: Jim Jeffries, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. What these men meant not only to boxing, but to American society as well, made for excellent listening. Censes:s masterful narration only added to the enjoyment of this book. It is highly recommended for all boxing fans.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Andrew on 10-26-17

Enjoyable and informational

This book provides a meaningful overview of the American history and evolution of the heavyweight championship through its demise. It was enjoyable throughout.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Adam williams on 10-24-17

Stunning

Honestly one of the best books about boxing I've read in a very long time. Interesting, thought provoking, sometimes humorous, at the end, poignant. The narration was truly top notch as well, especially when he quotes the fighters/trainers etc. The Mike Tyson chapters are enough to make you cry, so much talent gone to waste due to hangers on and a corrupt promoter. I would recommend this book to any fans of pugilism or sports in general, as well as history.

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