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Joe Louis: Hard Times Man Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300122225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300122220
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The author of superb studies of the boxers Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey, Mr. Roberts spins a graceful and reliable narrative of Louis's life. [He] also gets into the ring with the question: Why did Joe Louis matter so much to so many?"—Wall Street Journal
(Wall Street Journal 2010-10-23)

"Roberts is a fine match with his subject. He supports with powerful evidence his contention that Louis's impact was enormous and profound."—Bill Littlefield, Boston Globe
(Bill Littlefield Boston Globe 2011-01-09)

"Well-researched, intelligent, and insightful. . . . [Roberts is] able to capture the drama, brutality, and pathos of Louis's epic battles."—Glenn Altschuler, Philadelphia Inquirer
(Glenn Altschuler Philadelphia Inquirer 2011-12-26)

"[This] new biography by Randy Roberts restores Louis to his proper place in the pantheon, both as an athlete and as a cultural icon."—Allen St. John, Dallas Morning News
(Allen St. John Dallas Morning News 2011-01-02)

“A sympathetic, moving life of the Brown Bomber by veteran cultural historian and biographer Roberts. . . . All legendary athletes should hope for treatment by such capable, compassionate hands.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

(Kirkus Reviews)

"A biography to be savored. . . . Roberts' narrative of the pugilist and the man is gripping. . . . He captures the spirit of the age, when boxing on radio fed the national imagination. . . . Roberts recovers a great story and makes it sing for him."—Andrew Burstein, Baton Rouge Advocate (Andrew Burstein Baton Rouge Advocate)

"It's a thrilling account of an extraordinary life, one that needed to be retold to a generation tow hom Joe Louis is no more than an occasional face on ESPN Classic. There was a giant in those days, and Roberts has reclaimed him for us."—Allen Barra, St. Petersburg Times
(Allen Barra St. Petersburg Times)

"[An] exciting account of the great champ's life. . . . [The book] isn't so much a biography as a cultural history of its subject's life and times. . . . It's a thrilling account of an extraordinary life, one that needed to be retold to a generation to whom Joe Louis is no more than an occasional face on ESPN Classic. He was a giant in those days, and Randy Roberts has reclaimed him for us."—Allen Barra, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
(Allen Barra Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2011-06-07)

"Louis's story ghad been told by sportwriters and historians many times, but Roberts is a fine match with his subject. He suppports with powerful evidence his contention that Louis's impact was enormous and profound. His explorations of the shameful social conditions and smug hyporcrisy poisoning the landscape over which Louis loomed for a time are incisive and convincing."—Bill Littlefield, New York Post
(Bill Littlefield New York Post)

"Roberts has written a thoroughly researched, engaging book on African American heavyweight boxer Joe Louis. . . . This excellent book has much to say about race, nationalism, and identity."—A. Ejikeme, CHOICE
(A. Ejikeme CHOICE)

"Roberts's book is a thoroughly researched beginner's guide to boxing as well as an introductory course in 20th century politics that contains, at the heart of it, a stoic enigma of a fighter who wasn't afraid to go toe-to-toe with the world."—Lance Hicks, Bama Escapes
(Lance Hicks Bama Escapes)

"[In this] concise, judicious biography, . . . Roberts vividly re-creates a bygone time when boxing enjoyed enormous popularity. . . . Roberts is superb at conveying the excitement that surrounded Louis' exploits."—Richmond Times-Dispatch
(Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the Sports and Recreation category.
(Choice Outstanding Academic Title Choice 2012-03-12)

About the Author

Randy Roberts is Distinguished Professor of History at Purdue University. His previous books include biographies of Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson, and John Wayne (all nominated for Pulitzer Prizes); a history of American sports since 1945; and books on Charles Lindbergh, the Mike Tyson trial, and the Vietnam War. He lives in Lafayette, Indiana.

More About the Author

I write books that I would like to read, stories about sports and film icons who had an impact on American history. People like John Wayne, Joe Louis, and Muhammad Ali. My most recent books have explored the role that college football players and coaches have played during times of national crisis. Just published is "Rising Tide: Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie's Last Quarter," a book I wrote with Ed Krzemienski. It details the relationship between Bear Bryant and Joe Namath during the early 1960s, a time of CIvil Rights struggles, a violent backlash, and the emergenge of Alabama as the finest football team in the nation. It features two iconic personalities fighting for victories on the field and their careers off the field.

In 2011 I published "A Team for America: The Army-Navy Game That Rallied a Nation." It's the story of a West Point football team during World War II, striving to win a national championship before they shipped off to the battle front. It was their last chance to be boys before the nation demanded that they be men. During the months between D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge the team gave the millions of American soldiers around the world something to celebrate. After their last game General Douglas MacArthur wired Coach Red Blaik, "THE GREATEST OF ALL ARMY TEAMS. WE HAVE STOPPED THE WAR TO CELEBRATE YOUR MAGNIFICENT SUCCESS."

Customer Reviews

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See all 8 customer reviews
I recommend it if you are interested in U.S. history, especially if you like boxing.
Phillip V.
Roberts also has a feel for the nature of boxing, and he captures Louis' great fights with tense, riveting prose.
Robin Friedman
I always had heard and read that Joe Louis's tax problems arose from his Army Service, in WWII.
Bob Chorba

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The great African American heavyweight Joe Louis (1911 -- 1981) dominated the world of professional boxing from 1935 to the late 1940s. Louis' life involved far more than his prowess in the ring. He became an icon and a symbol of hope to the African American community of his day. With his famous one-round knockout in his rematch with the German boxer Max Schmeling in 1938, Louis became a hero to all Americans in the impending fight with totalitarianism and Nazism. With the outbreak of WW II, Louis served in the military and continued to inspire Americans of all races and persuasions with his active patriotism and service. Yet, Joe Louis was a deeply troubled man. He was heavily and inextricably involved with the shabby elements of professional boxing. Although he earned astronomical sums for his day, Louis far overspent his means, lived deeply in debt and owed a huge tax liability to the I.R.S. which he could not hope to pay. In his last years, Louis had problems with drugs and required institutionalization at one point for mental difficuties. He also worked meeting and greeting patrons of Las Vegas casinos and in making appearances at title fights.

In "Joe Louis: Hard Times Man" (2010) Randy Roberts offers a moving biography of Joe Louis. More importantly. Roberts focuses "in large part on the meaning of that life and career." (Preface, xii). Thus the book offers a great deal of insight into African American and broader American perception of Joe Louis. He examines Louis' career and the changes in the sport of boxing in light of changing American understandings of masculinity. Roberts also has a feel for the nature of boxing, and he captures Louis' great fights with tense, riveting prose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By paluka on February 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book has a lot of interesting reading but it also rambles on & on in parts & gets sidetracked far to often.
Could have saved 6 trees for the hard version by sticking more strictly to the main points.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob Chorba on December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I thought that I knew a lot about Joe Louis and his era, but I learned an awful lit. I hope all of the facts in this book are true.
1. I always had heard and read that Joe Louis's tax problems arose from his Army Service, in WWII. According to this book before he enlisted he owed the Promoter Mike Jacobs and the IRS, a significant sum of Money.
2. Billy Conn's Wife went to Rosemont (PA) college. I always thought she was very young when she married Billy, before she would have been college age.
3. In addition to the Problem with the white Bus Driver in TX, Jackie Robinson got in a fight with a white Officer in Kansas, and Joe helped him get out of trouble. I never read of or heard of that, and I've read a recent Bio of Jackie.
But, besides all those facts (true or not) this is an easy read. I easily read a 100 pages a day. This is a very good book on the Black Migration to the North and quite a lot of detail on the Jim Crow era.
Highly recommended.
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By Phillip V. on October 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not only the best biography I've ever read, but it is just a really great book to read. I recommend it if you are interested in U.S. history, especially if you like boxing.
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