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Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Life of Boxing’s Invisible Champion Hardcover – July 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151014302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151014309
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Stratton offers boxing fans a solidly researched, popularly written study of a complex, good man. A clear winner."
Library Journal  (starred)

"Stratton’s attention to detail is impressive, and he seems to have uncovered every little tidbit about Patterson's life both in and out of the ring, making this warm biography a must for boxing fanatics. An engaging, breezy portrait of an underappreciated boxing giant."
—Kirkus Reviews

A "deftly written autobiography...Stratton reminds us of Floyd Patterson's remarkable talent, mortality, and determination."
—Publisher's Weekly

"An even-handed, surprisingly readable account of one of America’s neglected sports figures."
—Booklist

"A well-researched and overdue tribute to Floyd Patterson. Like one of Patterson's reliable left hooks, Stratton sharply recounts the life of an important, but often forgotten, two-time world heavyweight champion."
—Gary Andrew Poole, author, PacMan: Behind The Scenes With Manny Pacquiao—The Greatest Pound-for-Pound Fighter in the World

"Stratton provides some fascinating insight into, surely, the most inscrutable heavyweight champion we've ever had. His book about Floyd Patterson is comprehensive and sensitive, as it seeks to help us understand a man who seemed so temperamentally in contradiction to his profession."
—Frank Deford, author of Over Time and Everybody's All-American

"Floyd Patterson was one of the more beguiling and hypnotic figures to stride across the stage of twentieth-century boxing. W. K. Stratton tells the story of this proud and mannered man with insight and artful compassion."
—Wil Haygood, author of Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson

"W. K. Stratton's Floyd Patterson revives the life of a boxer who was larger outside the ring than within it, a boxer who had a heart and humanity (and courage) beyond what his fight record revealed. He overcame obstacles and persevered in a manner that his more ferocious opponents did not."
—Gay Talese, author of A Writer's Life and The Silent Season of a Hero

"The extant literature on Floyd Patterson had heretofore been the province of often-fawning admirers, but with Floyd Patterson, W. K. Stratton has managed to produce a refreshingly honest and even-handed deconstruction of the owner of the uneasiest head to wear a crown this side of Henry IV."
—George Kimball

"A knockout biography of the best boxer in 1950s and early 1960s America. From winning an Olympic Gold medal to developing the peek-a-boo stance that influenced Muhammad Ali, Patterson was a monumental influence on the boxing profession during its Cold War era heyday. Highly recommended!"
—Douglas Brinkley, bestselling biographer and professor of history at Rice University

About the Author

W.K. (Kip) Stratton is the author of four books, including Backyard Brawl, Chasing the Rodeo, and Boxing Shadows. He has written for GQ, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Texas Observer, the Dallas Morning News, and others.  He lives near Austin, Texas.

Customer Reviews

If you're a sports fan, not just boxing fan, I highly recommend this book.
temply123
He was a very intelligent man who excelled in a sport not known for bright and kind people.
Andre Lawrence
I commend W.K. Stratton for writing this book, and doing Floyd Patterson justice.
Pete Berwick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alain B. Burrese TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When people think of boxing World Heavyweight Champions, everyone has a favorite, and a few names always take the limelight. One Champion is often overlooked, sometimes forgotten, and usually overshadowed by his losses to Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali. But Floyd Patterson deserves a spot in boxing history lore, and was more of a champion than many realize or give him credit for. In this new biography, "Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Life Of Boxing's Invisible Champion" by W. K. Stratton, Patterson's story is told in an entertaining and engaging manner, that does justice to the memory of this maybe invisible, but ground-breaking, Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Stratton, who's previous works include "Backyard Brawl," "Chasing the Rodeo," and "Boxing Shadows" as well as writing for many magazines provides a well researched chronicle of the life of Floyd Patterson, the Gentle Gladiator. This tribute to the peek-a-boo stance fighting and soft-spoken warrior of the ring is an honest portrait of a complex and misunderstood champion who pioneered many firsts in the sport of boxing and helped carry the civil rights flag during the height of its battle.

Many have forgotten Patterson's accomplishments, and this book by Stratton does a great job of reminding us just how significant they were.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on September 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all I must say I am not a boxing fan. However, Floyd Patterson is the first heavyweight champion that I remember. Author W. K. Stratton has written a very commendable biography of what some people refer to as the "invisible champion."

Patterson had a troubled childhood which led him to being sent to the Wiltwyck School for Boys in New York state. We all have individuals who help us in our formative years and here he met people who had a positive influence on his life. Boxing was to prove to be his ticket out of the slums. Many of the big names of boxing during the late 1960's and into the Muhammad Ali years are all included here in this book. Rocky Marciano retired undefeated with a record of 49 victories, and Archie Moore and Patterson battled it out for the heavyweight championship in 1956 with Patterson coming out the winner as the youngest heavyweight champion. He was to lose the championship on June 26, 1959, to the Swede Ingemar Johansson in Yankee Stadium. Patterson then became the first to reclaim the heavyweight championship in 1960 when Floyd floored Ingo in New York's Polo Grounds.

The author does an excellent job in covering the career of Floyd Patterson in this book. He also brings out the personalities of other boxers such as the likes of the aforementioned Ali and Sonny Liston. Broadcaster Howard Cosell hitched on to Patterson's career as a way to promote himself and when Floyd no longer was popular Cosell attached himself to Muhammad Ali. What I personally like about Patterson is his humble attitude and his desire to assist others as a way of saying thank you to those who helped him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Hogan VINE VOICE on June 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Floyd Patterson has had a rough go of it, historically speaking. He was champ after Marciano ,before Liston and Ali.His speed was eclipsed by Alis, his power by Liston, and he became the remnant of the old guard.Our loss.As told by WK Stratton, Mr Pattersons life was eventful and rich.He allges in this book that an aging Marciano didnt want to fight Floyd,fearing his speed[though Rocks left hook and Floyds vulnerable chin might have made that point moot].Patterson once actually kissed an opponent after winning a fight, donned a fake beard and shades and drove home from the midwest after Liston smoked him,was asked by JFK not to fight Liston[who was under investigation by the feds] went to Listons dressing room after Clay[ALI} had beaten him to offer his condolences.A complex man, who grew politically conservative as he got older, suffered form either Alzheimer's or pugilistic dementia.Befriended by Howard Cosell, then thrown to the curb when the more exciting Ali arrived ,Patterson was a very good kind man in a very mean bad business. Cus D'amto,his long time trainer does not come off very well here, either.My only fault is that the book should have been longer.Not often do you feel that. superb!HUGELY RECOMMENDED!!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By traderje on July 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I thoroughly enjoyed this depiction of Floyd Patterson, the early peek-a-book fighter trained by Cus D'amato. The book recounts the man's life in and out of the ring in a vigorous, honest, sporting style. It is a fascinating read about a man with style and accomplishments that would have earned timeless fame if not for being caught in an era between two other immense legends. Perhaps this book can help renew his fame for a new generation.

I give it a 5 star rating for content, subject, and informative value. It is just the right size for the treatment and a great gift for anyone. A long overdue book and in my opinion it would make a good movie, too.
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More About the Author

William Kip Stratton - friends call him by his middle name - was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma, a descendant on his mother's side from settlers who participated in the Great Land Run of 1889. The Guthrie in which he grew up was a racially polarized agricultural and oilfield community with more than its share of poverty and strife. He attended the Guthrie Public Schools during a time of great upheaval; he was active in student government and often found himself embroiled in issues reflective of the discord affecting the town and the nation at the time. He also played in rock bands, began writing in earnest, and developed a lifelong interest in films. He began submitting articles to the Guthrie daily newspaper while still a high school student.

He put himself through what's now known as the University of Central Oklahoma while working as a newspaper reporter, taking a degree in English with honors. He later received a Master's degree in English from the same school, submitting a novel for his thesis. While in college, he studied fiction writing under the popular novelist Marilyn Harris (Springer) and had the opportunity to participate in seminars and workshops by the likes of James Dickey, William Stafford, Donald Hall, and N. Scott Momaday.

As a young man, he was active in Democratic Party politics, and while in graduate school, he worked as the Reading Clerk and as a press aide for the Oklahoma State Senate. He also managed a district attorney campaign around this time. (Later, he managed a short-lived gubernatorial campaign.) He worked for the Oklahoma State Election Board for three years - the election board was affiliated with the Senate - before resigning and moving to a farm to write a novel.

That novel was unsuccessful and never published. He returned to journalism and eventually worked on the Tulsa World. He also began writing for magazines on the side. His first published magazine article appeared in Sports Illustrated. He also contributed to the Texas Observer, Outside, Americana, and Southern Magazine during this time. He contributed numerous pieces to Oklahoma Today magazine, several of them long-form, and eventually became one of the magazine's Contributing Editors. (He later published essays in D the Magazine of Dallas, GQ, and Mayborn.)

In the late 1980s, he relocated to Central Texas, where he has resided since. For a number of years, he has worked in high tech as his day job. His first book, Backyard Brawl, appeared in 2002. Chasing the Rodeo followed in 2005, as did a book he edited with his longtime friend Jan Reid, Splendor in the Short Grass. That year he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. In middle age, Stratton became deeply involved in training as a boxer. This brought him into contact with prizefighters, promoters, and managers. One person he befriended was two-time female boxing champion Anissa Zamarron. In 2009, he published his book about her rise from a troubled adolescence to prominence in women's boxing, Boxing Shadows. In 2011, his book of poetry, Dreaming Sam Peckinpah, was published to acclaim. That same year, he was a speaker at the prestigious Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Life of Boxing's Invisible Champion was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012. Also in 2012, Stratton was elected President of the Texas Institute of Letters.
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