Unbeaten: Rocky Marciano’s Fight for Perfection in a Crooked World

Mike Stanton. Holt, $32 (400p) ISBN 978-1-62779-919-5
In this entertaining history of the “Brockton Bomber,” Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Stanton follows Rocky Marciano’s unlikely rise from factory-town high school dropout to heavyweight champion. Born Rocco Francis Marchegiano in 1923, the firstborn son of Italian immigrants only devoted himself to boxing after his professional baseball dreams were dashed at age 19. Although small for a heavyweight and stylistically crude, he possessed relentless tenacity and one-punch knockout power. Appearing during a heavyweight talent drought, Marciano further benefitted from his marketable whiteness and a manager who was allied with the Mob that controlled the sport. After retiring undefeated in 1956 at age 32, he roamed the country as a celebrity, appearing in various television shows, until his death in a 1969 plane crash. No heavyweight champion before or since has matched Marciano’s record of 49 wins and no losses. Despite Stanton’s meticulous research, he offers little pugilistic insight, and, while no hagiographer, Stanton generally soft-pedals Marciano’s Mafia ties and obsessive cheapness, as well as his compulsive philandering. Boxing aficionados will find little new here, though general readers will find much to appreciate in this charming rags-to-riches tale that seems at an enormous remove from the 21st Century. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 06/26/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5385-8756-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-5385-8755-3
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-5314-3
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-9825-0120-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5385-8757-7
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-250-21087-6
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