Cover image for Rocky Marciano : the rock of his times
Rocky Marciano : the rock of his times
Sullivan, Russell.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 368 pages, 14 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Holyoke -- Providence -- New york -- The great white hope -- The uncrowned champion -- Jersey Joe -- The ideal -- The ugly duckling -- The king and his kingdom -- Ezzard -- The Italian hero -- Archie -- The wanderer -- Rocky.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1132.M3 S85 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GV1132.M3 S85 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Spirited, fast-paced, and rich in detail, Rocky Marciano: The Rock of His Times is the first book to tell the full story of the man, his sport, and his era.Emerging from obscurity to win the heavyweight crown in the early 1950s, Marciano fought until 1955, retiring with a perfect 49-0 record--a feat still unmatched today. Yet as much as he embodied the wholesome, rags-to-riches patriotism of a true American hero, Marciano also reflected the racial and ethnic tensions festering beneath the country's benevolent facade. In this captivating portrait of a complex American sports legend, Russell Sullivan confirms Rocky Marciano's place as a symbol and cultural icon of his era.Russell Sullivan lives in the Boston area and is senior vice president and general counsel of Linkage, Inc., a corporate education company headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books and articles on business-related topics.A volume in the series Sport and Society, edited by Benjamin G. Rader and Randy Roberts

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Cursed with two left feet and no ring speed, Marciano never looked like a great heavyweight champion. But he sure won like one, riding his knee-buckling right hand all the way to history as the only heavyweight champ to retire undefeated. In this well-researched biography, Marciano is portrayed as a symbol of America in the early 1950s. Like his nation at the time, Marciano led an Ozzie and Harriet life--superficially. But beneath the surface, the champ's ambivalence about race, his infidelity, and his almost comic stinginess (Rocky even cheated pay phones) revealed the 1950s as you didn't see them on TV: multifaceted and complex. This isn't a flashy biography--there are no new revelations about Rocky's life--but Marciano wasn't a flashy boxer. If the fight scenes aren't exactly gripping and the narrative is often weighed down by voluminous detail, fans of the Rock will appreciate the book's broad scope and savor every last detail. This supplants Skehan's Rocky Marciano (1998) as the definitive Marciano biography. --John Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sullivan, a business writer and owner of a corporate education company, offers a solid if unspectacular biography of the only undefeated heavyweight champion in history. He recounts Marciano's career from his first professional fight in 1947 through his death in a plane crash in 1969, looking at the sports hero as a symbol of both the optimism and the darker cultural currents of the 1950s. Sullivan provides a detailed and complete history of Marciano's fights, as well as some rich contextual background on the characters and atmosphere of boxing during the 1950s. Marciano, the child of Italian immigrants, who grew up in working class Brockton, Mass., was presented by the press as the ideal '50s man: a wholesome, patriotic family man with an all-American rags-to-riches story and worshipped by his fans as such. He was another Great White Hope in a sport dominated by black men, and though many 1950s sportswriters strove for a colorblind approach, it was nonetheless clear that they rooted for Rocky. The cultural analysis is the strongest part of the book; Russell's portrait of the private man (sometimes ambivalent about his family and notoriously obsessed with collecting and never spending money) is well researched and complex, but hampered by his often clunky and repetitive writing style. Though Marciano never achieved the popularity of Ali or Louis, his story offers a fascinating glimpse of boxing at midcentury and boxing buffs will be glad to have this overdue biography. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Ask the average boxing fan who were the greatest heavyweight champions, and chances are that names such as Louis, Ali, and Dempsey will quickly pop up. Some who fancy themselves historians might chime in with Jack Johnson or even John L. Sullivan. Only after these choices will most people get around to Rocky Marciano, a plodding, many said clumsy, fighter willing to take ten blows to get in the big knockout punch of his own. But Rocky had one thing over all these guys he fought 49 pro fights and never lost, retiring as champion in 1956. In this biography, Sullivan, a Boston-area business writer, examines Marciano the fighter and Marciano the person, a man who symbolized his era as much as Ali did his. Along the way, Sullivan also offers excellent portraits of Marciano's nemeses Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott, Archie Moore, and others and gives a sense of big-time boxing in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the sport trailed only baseball in popularity. Essential for all boxing collections. Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Sullivan takes a different approach to the usual biographical profile in that he intertwines the political and cultural events of the time as they impacted the life and activities of his subject. A white man in a world of black boxers, Marciano has always been portrayed as a man with high Christian values, a man who epitomized the American way of life. The author describes in detail the facts of Marciano's major bouts; he was not a classic skilled boxer, but he used his strength and power to overcome his opponent. He retired in 1956 with a record that still stands: he is the only undefeated heavyweight champion in history, with 49 wins and no losses. In 1969, shortly after his 46th birthday, he and two others were killed when their small plane crashed in Iowa. Sullivan argues that Marciano "came to symbolize early 1950s simplicity." Fifteen pages of pictures enhance the story. There are 29 pages of notes and 9 pages of bibliographic information. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Collections supporting the sociology of sports at all levels. J. Davenport emerita, Auburn University