Champion Joe Louis: A Biography

Chris Mead, Author Robson Books $14 (0p) ISBN 978-0-86051-848-8
Joe Louis (1914-1981), probably the greatest boxer of all time, was the Michael Jordan of sports when sports were affiliated more closely with American national identity than with the New York Stock Exchange. Although his celebrity status was largely the work of the media and of gangster managers, Louis received public attention unheralded for a black man at that time. His iconic shaping was defined by the only other black heavyweight champion before him, Jack Johnson. Louis was modest and compassionate where Johnson was ostentatious and prone to alcohol-induced violence (Johnson spent many years in exile after his 1913 conviction under the Mann Act for transporting a white woman across state lines for immoral purposes). After proving himself the best fighter in the world, Louis was conditionally allowed the status of celebrity and star symbol. Even so, the subtitle is somewhat deceiving in that Mead's research demonstrates that Louis faced the animosity of white writers and the general public throughout his career. Paradoxically, what propelled Louis to the status of American hero was nationalism: the fact that he beat Max Schmeling, the sporting world's symbol of Nazi Germany, in a second try on June 22, 1938. Given all the wanton carelessness of athletes, coaches and others in past seasons, this book is a timely look at the concept of fandom in America at a time when the stakes were much higher and contract prices much lower. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.