From Publishers Weekly
Boxing trainer and ESPN commentator Atlas ruminates on fighting as a form of masculine psychotherapy, from his own youthful street brawling to his stints training a young Mike Tyson and heavyweight champ Michael Moorer. His theme is the male psyche's craving for paternal approval, evinced in his juvenile acting out against an emotionally distant dad and his ringside relationships with a succession of surrogate sons. With them, Atlas's mentoring toggles between fatherly tenderness ("I care about you. You're important to me") and tough-love harangues ("hit him in the fuckin' balls and become a fighter or you get on the next train and you get the fuck out of my life!"). He also becomes a spiritual guide to celebrity clients like Twyla Tharp, whom he lectures on the need to face one's fears, and Willem Dafoe, with whom he discusses the nature of truth. Atlas's exhaustively transcribed motivational sermons can be wearisome, and in his self-serving accounts of boxing industry intrigues he is always loyal and principled. But he and amanuensis Alson tell his story with plenty of atmospherics, Runyonesque characters and an illuminating focus on the boxer's internal battle. Photos. (May 9)
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“The book is a winner, on all cards, from the first to the final bell.” (Boston Globe)
“A work of cumulative, powerful impact: [Teddy Atlas] doesn’t allow anyone, readers included, to evade life’s tough questions.” (Kirkus Reviews)