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Two Ton: One Night, One Fight -Tony Galento v. Joe Louis Paperback – November 6, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On June 28, 1939, in a heavyweight title fight, a very fat man knocked down the champion Joe Louis in the third round; Louis jumped to his feet and soon dispatched his opponent. From this slender thread, freelance writer Monninger hangs the story of Tony "Two Ton" Galento, a journeyman boxer and spectacular character whose lucky punch made him a celebrity. The child of poor immigrants and a professional "ice man," Galento, in his oversized way, embodied the forces that made boxing a realistic career choice for the poor and the most popular sport in pre-WWII America. As far as underdogs go, Galento is no bout-winning "Cinderella Man" or even a Chuck Wepner (the real-life model for Rocky), but his is an entertaining story. At times, Monninger's digressions range too widely, and he has an unfortunate tendency to impart what he thinks the average guy on the street is thinking. Yet he displays a sure feeling for the eccentricities and color of the era, and he has a novelist's ability to put the reader in the moment. In Monninger's hands, all "two tons" of Tony come alive. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In this by-the-numbers but still fascinating book, we get the first biographical portrait in years of Tony "Two Ton" Galento. Balding, love-handled, and massively underqualified for a bout with Joe Louis, Galento had the same manager as Cinderella Man James Braddock, but the resemblance ended there. (In fact, before the fight, Braddock said, "I haven't seen Tony in training, and I am not picking him to win.") Galento is more famous for his mouth than his fists--he ensured his linguistic immortality by saying of Louis, "I'll moida the bum." But their fight ranks as one of the more memorable (and surprisingly competitive) in heavyweight history--even if, to be sure, Two Ton was outmatched from the start. Monninger's book is as much a blow-by-blow description of that night (including the undercards) as a dual biography. The fight reportage is gripping, and while there's certainly nothing new here about Louis, Monninger's descriptions of Galento paint a portrait of one of boxing's great antiheroes. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Steerforth (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586421387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586421380
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,284,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joseph Monninger has published fourteen novels and three non-fiction books. His work has appeared in American Heritage, Scientific American, Readers Digest, Glamour, Playboy, Story, Fiction, The Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated and Ellery Queen, among other publications. He has twice received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and has also received a fellowship from the New Hampshire Council for the Arts. His young adult novel, Baby, was awarded the 2008 award for best children's literature from the Peace Corps Writers. It was also chosen as a top ten book by YALSA, the American Library Association. The Bulletin of the Center for Children's' Books awarded Hippie Chick, a young adult novel, a blue ribbon for a top book of 2008.

Joseph Monninger grew up in Westfield, New Jersey and attended Temple University on a football scholarship. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, from 1975-77. He has been a licensed New Hampshire Fishing Guide and has fly-fished from New Zealand to Wyoming's Wind River Range. He lives with his wife, Wendy, and his son, Justin, in a converted barn near New Hampshire's Baker River. For several years his family competed in the New England Sled Dog sprint races and ran a small sled dog business in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

As a teacher at one time or another at the University of New Hampshire, the Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island, The American International School in Vienna, and at Plymouth State University, Joseph Monninger has spent thirty years in classrooms. During the summers he directed academic enrichment programs at Williams and Amherst Colleges. He led student groups on bicycle tours across Europe, sailed the Whitsunday Islands near the Great Barrier Reef, and worked on community service projects in Montserrat, West Indies and on the Crow Reservation in Montana. He has taken a mail boat across the southern edge of Newfoundland and, as a young man, hitch-hiked across the United States three times.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Matthew on May 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Boxing isn't really my thing, but I can't resist a good, well-written story. Joe Monninger's sharp, clear prose draws the reader back in time and deep into the drama of two men's lives, each both very ordinary and very special - almost mythological. It's tough not to find something of yourself in both, and impossible not to be pulled along by this engaging story of one night and one fight. Buy it. Read it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ten Anthonys on May 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
The book should be of great interest to living boxing or history fans who remember the era and add dimension to those who don't.
The book conjures up moments of history without being academic or tone-deaf to the human side. Author Monninger is a first class novelist and prolific writer; this one has the distinction of detailed research and facile delivery. Monninger creates the period as if you are living it. I might have done without reading a few sections too heavy in boxing detail such as the measurement of the forces of a heavyweight fighter's punch. In the ring with mere amateurs, I've had ribs broken twice by body shots, a broken nose, various cuts and an infinite number of bruises. It rather kills the fun of it all to read that a heavyweight's punch delivers a force of 2800 newtons. But the story of the determined loser-hero willing to risk all to make his mark on history is a testament to all of us who struggle to find inspiration.
Like Joyce Carol Oates well-known book `On Boxing', this story of Two Ton Tony Galento is something of a departure from traditional boxing literature. It's funny, it's fascinating, it entertains, and it's one of the markers by which America's time is measured.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen B. on January 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Nice book. Easy read. Learned a lot about a guy I knew almost nothing of (Two Ton Tony Galento) and learned a lot more about a guy I already knew pretty well (Joe Louis).

They could not have been more polar opposites. Louis was a physical specimen, well off from some big pay-day fights, reserved, a gentleman, supremely talented and, of course, black. Galento was white, short and fat, a tavern owner who needed the money, a clown, a plodder in the ring and a bit of a lout. The one thing they did have in common was their chosen profession.

This may have been a five star special, but there are a few instances where the author goes a little Joyce Carol Oates on us and loses the narrative voice of the book. Don't get me wrong--I have nothing against Joyce Carol Oates, but I only enjoy her stuff when I'm reading Joyce Carol Oates.

Two Ton Tony literally makes his two seconds of fame (the two seconds Joe Louis was on the canvas during their fight) last a lifetime. The author suggests that causes a lot of 'what if' thoughts to creep in. I look at it as at least he got the two seconds which is a lot more than I can say for most of us.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Dillon on September 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I grew up in Orange and met Galento twice, decades after the big Louis fight. Both times he was amusing, colorful, and intimidating. I am thankful for this book; its portrayal is rather accurate to the man. One minor complaint: the book at times seems anti-boxing. Yes, boxing is brutal but it has its virtues which cannot be fully elaborated on here. And professional boxing ain't nothin' compared to the streets of Orange I knew!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. Grant on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a boxing historian and a huge reader, I found "Two Ton" to be one of the best additions to the boxing library in many years. The author did a superb job in his research and in portraying the men and their time. It is a terrific read on many levels and highly recommended ...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mikey on September 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I met Tony in Dempsey's bar right after the Frazier-Quarry bout. He gave me an autographed picture of himself that I will always treasure. The book seems to make fun of his lifestyle but doesn't avoid the guts and determination he always showed. Several of the fights seemed take too long to elaborate on (several chapters) but the story keeps going.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pugwash on June 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Joe Louis is well chronicled as arguably the finest fighting machine ever produced by the heavyweight division. There have been many movies, books and magazine articles detailing his mastery. In fact, his skills were so far above and beyond his contemporaries, that his Championship fights became widely known as "The Bum of the Month Club".

Joe Louis plays the heavy in this finely written story, but the book, and the night belong to tony Galento, a balding fireplug of a man, a first generation Italian American, and an athlete who was unafraid to laugh at himself while self promoting.

Galento was also fearless in the ring, and if the book is to be believed, in life. Galento was full of life, full of fun, and a first rate character, of the sort that sadly belongs to a different era in sports.

Galento earned a shot at Louis' title in 1939. Although their skill levels made it an inherent mismatch, Galento had the proverbial punchers chance. But he had a heart to match his nickname. And for a brief couple of moments on this stage, Galento imbedded himself in the American consciousness.

Along the way, he was the lovable rogue, who understood self promotion in much the same way Muhammad Ali would a quarter century later. A man of inherent, God given intelligence, as well bravery heart and humor.

This was as enjoyable a boxing biography as I have read.
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