Joe Louis

The Life of a Heavyweight


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About the Book

Joe Louis held the heavyweight boxing championship longer than any other fighter and defended it a record 25 times. (In the 1930s and 1940s, the owner of the heavyweight title was the most prominent non-team sports competitor.) In addition, Louis helped bridge the gap of understanding between whites and blacks. During World War II he not only raised money for Army and Navy relief and entertained millions of troops as a morale officer, but became a symbol of American hope and strength. This biography of Louis outlines his rise from poverty in Alabama to become the best-known African American of his time and describes how an uneducated man, simple at his core, became so articulate and ended up on the side of right in the battles he fought, with fist or voice.

About the Author(s)

Lew Freedman is a long-time, prize-winning journalist for such newspapers as the Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, Anchorage Daily News and Wyoming’s Cody Enterprise. Specializing in sports and the outdoors, he has written more than 100 books. He lives in Columbus, Indiana.

Bibliographic Details

Lew Freedman

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 252
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5907-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0212-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction  1
1. The Brain Trust  5
2. Alabama  13
3. Detroit  22
4. Joe Who?  29
5. Laying Out the Big Plan  36
6. Jack Johnson  42
7. Going Pro  50
8. The Brown Bomber  57
9. The Brown Bomber Versus the Italian Man Mountain  67
10. Showdown with “Killer” Baer  78
11. An Eye for the Ladies  86
12. Working His Way to the Top  96
13. Max Schmeling  103
14. Schmeling, Hitler and the Nazis  111
15. Louis-Schmeling I  117
16. Joe Bounces Back  127
17. And the New Heavyweight Champion of the World  135
18. Being the Champ  143
19. Louis­Schmeling II  150
20. Bigger Than Ever  160
21. Two-Ton Tony and Tons of Others  168
22. The Tough Guy from Pittsburgh  178
23. You’re in the Army Now  187
24. A Young Man Named Robinson  197
25. After the War  203
26. End Days of a Brilliant Career  211
27. Real Life Tougher Than Boxing  219
Chapter Notes  231
Bibliography  237
Index  239

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Retells the story in an efficient fashion…a solid overview of Louis’s life…the power of Louis’s life is undeniable. Recommended”—Choice