Synopses & Reviews
"Two extraordinarily talented journalists, Michael Vitez and Tom Gralish, have captured this uniquely American phenomenon with whimsy, poignancy, and utter charm."and#151;John Grogan, author of Marley and Me
"Rocky Stories captures the sprawling complexity of life. It's a delight."and#151;Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down
"A book that is an absolute joy and an absolute blast and quintessentially American in its hopes and dreams and sweetness."and#151;Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights and A Prayer for the City
Pulitzer Prize-winners Michael Vitez and Tom Gralish of the Philadelphia Inquirer spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories of "Rocky runners," who come from all over the world to run up America's most famous stepsand#151;just as Sylvester Stallone did in Rocky. People make the pilgrimage to mark a new beginning, to seek inspiration, to celebrate an accomplishment, to find the perfect backdrop for romance, or simply because they love the movie. As one runner says, "It gives you the feeling that anything is possible."
The authors have uncovered an enduring cultural phenomenon, one that centers on Philadelphia, and yet, as Michael Vitez writes in his introduction, is a true American, and even international, rite of passage.
The book includes fifty-two profiles and one hundred color photographs, together with a foreword by Sylvester Stallone, and interviews with Rocky's Academy Award-winning director John G. Avildsen, composer Bill Conti, and cameraman Garrett Brown.
In his foreword, Sylvester Stallone sums up his thoughts on the phenomenon: "You can't borrow Superman's cape. You can't use the Jedi laser sword. But the steps are there. The steps are accessible. And standing up there, you kind of have a piece of the Rocky pie."
"[C]harming photo essay of people who retraced Rocky's steps and felt their own exhilaration doing it."and#151;San Francisco Chronicle
"The extent to which the Rocky mythand#151;that of the perennial loser who proves he's 'not just another bum from the neighborhood'and#151;has resonated is documented in this winning book."and#151;Sports Illustrated
"I've only skimmed it, and already I'm in love with the book Rocky Stories.and#160;(It had me at the title.)and#133;It may sound like a movie tie-in, but it's not. It's just a fascinating testament to how the words 'Rocky' and 'underdog' are still interchangeable 30 years after the film's release."and#151;Entertainment Weekly's PopWatchand#160;column
"The Rocky steps have become a special place for tourists and Philadelphians alike. Virtually everyone who lives here or comes here wants to say that they ran up the Rocky steps and saw the incredible view down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. When I was Mayor, the city planned 24 hours of millennium celebrations, one each hour. Of course we had to kick it off at the Rocky steps and we did so with 2,000 people all dressed like Rocky running up the steps at the same time. It was awesome."and#151;Former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell
Michael Vitezand#160;has been a staff writer at theand#160;Philadelphia Inquirerand#160;since 1985. For his series on end-of-life issues, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism.
Tom Gralishand#160;has been at theand#160;Philadelphia Inquirerand#160;since 1983, working as both an editor and photographer. For his photo essay on the homeless, he won both the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.
From all over the world, people come to Philadelphia to run up the steps of the Art Museum just as Sylvester Stallone did in the film Rocky.Pulitzer Prize winners Michael Vitez and Tom Gralish spent a year at the "Rocky Steps"to capture the stories of some of the thousands who visit each year: to mark a new beginning, to cele-brate an accomplishment, to find the perfect backdrop for romance-or simply because they love the movie. They come because, as one runner says, "It gives you the feeling that anything is possible."
In his introduction, Michael Vitez writes: "The movie premiered in 1976, thirty years ago, yet they still come-a high-school track team from Belfast, three busloads of professional wrestling fans from Australia, a college rower from Maine, a librarian and her fiance from Lake Tahoe, a race car driver (he ran the steps for good luck). . . . The story of Rockyinspired them, stirred them."
Includes interviews with Sylvester Stallone and with Oscar-winning director John Avildsen, composer Bill Conti, and cameraman Garrett Brown.
Rocky still resonates with people around the world. These are their stories.
About the Author
Michael Vitez has been a staff writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 20 years. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for his series chronicling the lives of five people as they approached the end of life. He has taught writing and journalism at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University. Tom Gralish has been at the Philadelphia Inquirer since 1983, working as both an editor and photographer. In 1986, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his photo essay on the homeless. Since 1998, he has published a weekly photo column in which he documents everyday life in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.