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Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson (Borzoi Books)

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Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson

By Wil Haygood

From the author of the critically acclaimed IN BLACK AND WHITE: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr., comes another illuminating socio-historical narrative of the Twentieth Century, this one spun around one of the most iconic figures of the fight game, Sugar Ray Robinson.

Continuing to set himself apart as one of our canniest cultural historians, Haygood grounds the spectacular story of Robinsons rise to greatness within the context of his life and times. Born Walker Smith, Jr., in Detroit, 1921, the fighters early childhood was marked by the seething racial tensions and explosive race riots that infected the Midwest throughout the 20s and 30s. After his mother moved him and his sisters to the relative safety of Harlem, he came of age in the vibrant post-Renaissance years; it was there that, encouraged to box by his mother, who wanted him off the streets, he soon became a rising star, cutting an electrifying, glamorous figure, riding around town in his famous pink Cadillac. Beyond the celebrity though, Sugar Ray would also emerge as a powerful, often controversial black symbol in a rapidly changing America. Haygood also weaves in the stories of Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, and Miles Davis, all of whose lives not only intersected with Sugar Rays, but also contribute richly to the scope and soul of the book.

From his gruesome six-bout war with Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta and his lethal meeting with Jimmy Doyle, to his Harlem nightclub years and thwarted show-biz dreams, Wil Haygood brings Sugar Rays story, in the ring and out, powerfully to life against a vividly painted backdrop of the world he captivated.

Wil Haygood is a prizewinning staff writer for the Washington Post and an acclaimed biographer. His In BLACK AND WHITE was internationally praised. Among its honors were the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and the Nonfiction Book of the Year Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Biography • 6 ¼ x 9 ¼ • 464 pages • 18 Photographs in Text

$27.95 (Can. $34.00) • ISBN/

Synopsis:

From the author of the critically acclaimed In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr., comes another illuminating socio-historical narrative of the twentieth century, this one spun around one of the most iconic figures of the fight game, Sugar Ray Robinson.

Continuing to set himself apart as one of our canniest cultural historians, Wil Haygood grounds the spectacular story of Robinson's rise to greatness within the context of the fighter's life and times. Born Walker Smith, Jr., in 1921, Robinson had an early childhood marked by the seething racial tensions and explosive race riots that infected the Midwest throughout the twenties and thirties. After his mother moved him and his sisters to the relative safety of Harlem, he came of age in the vibrant post-Renaissance years. It was there that—encouraged to box by his mother, who wanted him off the streets—he soon became a rising star, cutting an electrifying, glamorous figure, riding around town in his famous pink Cadillac. Beyond the celebrity, though, Robinson would emerge as a powerful, often controversial black symbol in a rapidly changing America. Haygood also weaves in the stories of Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, and Miles Davis, whose lives not only intersected with Robinson's but also contribute richly to the scope and soul of the book.

From Robinson's gruesome six-bout war with Jake "Raging Bull" LaMotta and his lethal meeting with Jimmy Doyle to his Harlem nightclub years and thwarted show-biz dreams, Haygood brings the champion's story, in the ring and out, powerfully to life against a vividly painted backdrop of the world he captivated.

Synopsis:

From the author of the critically acclaimed Sammy Davis, Jr., biography In Black and White, a sweeping biography-cum-cultural history centered around one of the most iconic figures of boxing.

Wil Haygood grounds the story of Sugar Ray Robinson's spectacular rise to greatness firmly within the historical context of his lifetime: born in 1921, Robinson came of age when the country seethed with virulent racism. Detroit was his birthplace, but from the time he was young, Harlem was his home. It was there that he began boxing, at thirteen, and, in the 1940s and 1950s, became a staple figure, glamorous and electrifying, emerging as a powerful symbol of Black America.

Among the great strengths of the book are the vivid descriptions of Sugar Ray's unique blend of grace and ferocity in the ring. But with equal vividness, the author describes Robinson's life outside the ring, weaving in portraits of Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, and Miles Davis--whose lives not only intersected with Sugar Ray's but also contribute to the illumination of his moment in our cultural and political history.

From scrappy street kid to cultural icon to the relative obscurity of his last years, Sugar Ray comes hauntingly and powerfully to life against the vivid backdrop of the world he captivated.

About the Author

Wil Haygood is a prizewinning staff writer for The Washington Post and an acclaimed biographer. His In Black and White was internationally praised. Among his honors are the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the Nonfiction Book of the Year Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400044979
Author:
Haygood, Wil
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Subject:
Boxers (Sports)
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Sports - General
Subject:
cultural heritage
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Boxers (Sports) -- United States.
Subject:
Robinson, Sugar Ray
Subject:
Boxing
Subject:
Sports
Subject:
Biography-Sports
Copyright:
Series:
Borzoi Books
Publication Date:
20091031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
18 PHOTOGRAPHS IN TEXT
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
9.55 x 6.6 x 1.5 in 1.8 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Sports
History and Social Science » World History » General
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Boxing » Boxers
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Boxing » General

Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson (Borzoi Books) Used Hardcover
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Product details 480 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9781400044979 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , From the author of the critically acclaimed In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr., comes another illuminating socio-historical narrative of the twentieth century, this one spun around one of the most iconic figures of the fight game, Sugar Ray Robinson.

Continuing to set himself apart as one of our canniest cultural historians, Wil Haygood grounds the spectacular story of Robinson's rise to greatness within the context of the fighter's life and times. Born Walker Smith, Jr., in 1921, Robinson had an early childhood marked by the seething racial tensions and explosive race riots that infected the Midwest throughout the twenties and thirties. After his mother moved him and his sisters to the relative safety of Harlem, he came of age in the vibrant post-Renaissance years. It was there that—encouraged to box by his mother, who wanted him off the streets—he soon became a rising star, cutting an electrifying, glamorous figure, riding around town in his famous pink Cadillac. Beyond the celebrity, though, Robinson would emerge as a powerful, often controversial black symbol in a rapidly changing America. Haygood also weaves in the stories of Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, and Miles Davis, whose lives not only intersected with Robinson's but also contribute richly to the scope and soul of the book.

From Robinson's gruesome six-bout war with Jake "Raging Bull" LaMotta and his lethal meeting with Jimmy Doyle to his Harlem nightclub years and thwarted show-biz dreams, Haygood brings the champion's story, in the ring and out, powerfully to life against a vividly painted backdrop of the world he captivated.

"Synopsis" by , From the author of the critically acclaimed Sammy Davis, Jr., biography In Black and White, a sweeping biography-cum-cultural history centered around one of the most iconic figures of boxing.

Wil Haygood grounds the story of Sugar Ray Robinson's spectacular rise to greatness firmly within the historical context of his lifetime: born in 1921, Robinson came of age when the country seethed with virulent racism. Detroit was his birthplace, but from the time he was young, Harlem was his home. It was there that he began boxing, at thirteen, and, in the 1940s and 1950s, became a staple figure, glamorous and electrifying, emerging as a powerful symbol of Black America.

Among the great strengths of the book are the vivid descriptions of Sugar Ray's unique blend of grace and ferocity in the ring. But with equal vividness, the author describes Robinson's life outside the ring, weaving in portraits of Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, and Miles Davis--whose lives not only intersected with Sugar Ray's but also contribute to the illumination of his moment in our cultural and political history.

From scrappy street kid to cultural icon to the relative obscurity of his last years, Sugar Ray comes hauntingly and powerfully to life against the vivid backdrop of the world he captivated.

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