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Jersey Joe Walcott : A Boxing Biography

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Jersey Joe Walcott : A Boxing Biography

Walmart # 573211966
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Born into extreme poverty in 1914, Jersey Joe Walcott began boxing at the age of 16 to help feed his hungry family. After ten years' boxing, without proper training and with little to show for his efforts beyond some frightful beatings, Walcott quit the ring. A chance meeting with a local fight promoter who recognized the potential in his iron chin and hard punch turned Walcott's fortunes around, launching one of the greatest comebacks in boxing history. This biography details Walcott's youth, his dismal early career, and his legendary climb to become the heavyweight champion of the world at age 37, at the time making him the oldest man to ever win the coveted title. Along the way, he battled some of the most feared contenders of his day, including Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, and Rocky Marciano. With numerous period photographs and a foreword from Walcott's grandson, this work provides an intimate look at one of the grittiest, most determined boxers of the 20th century.

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Born into extreme poverty in 1914, Jersey Joe Walcott began boxing at the age of 16 to help feed his hungry family. After ten years' boxing, without proper training and with little to show for his efforts beyond some frightful beatings, Walcott quit the ring. A chance meeting with a local fight promoter who recognized the potential in his iron chin and hard punch turned Walcott's fortunes around, launching one of the greatest comebacks in boxing history. This biography details Walcott's youth, his dismal early career, and his legendary climb to become the heavyweight champion of the world at age 37, at the time making him the oldest man to ever win the coveted title. Along the way, he battled some of the most feared contenders of his day, including Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, and Rocky Marciano. With numerous period photographs and a foreword from Walcott's grandson, this work provides an intimate look at one of the grittiest, most determined boxers of the 20th century. Born into extreme poverty in 1914, Jersey Joe Walcott began boxing at the age of 16 to help feed his hungry family. After ten years, without proper training and with little to show for his efforts beyond some frightful beatings, Walcott quit the ring. A chance meeting with a fight promoter who recognized the potential in his iron chin and hard punch turned Walcott's fortunes around, launching one of the greatest comebacks in boxing history. This biography details Walcott's youth, his dismal early career, and his legendary climb to become the heavyweight champion of the world at age 37, at the time the oldest man ever to win the coveted title. Along the way, he battled some of the most feared champions of his day, including Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, and Rocky Marciano. With numerous period photographs and a foreword from Walcott's grandson, this work provides an intimate look at one of the grittiest, most determined boxers of the 20th century.

Specifications

Publisher
McFarland & Company
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
231
Author
James Curl
ISBN-13
9780786468225
Publication Date
March, 2012
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
8.90 x 5.90 x 0.70 Inches
ISBN-10
078646822X
Customer Reviews
3.7
7 reviews
5 stars
1
4 stars
4
3 stars
1
2 stars
1
1 star
0
Top Positive Review
In the introduction to hi
In the introduction to his book, "Jersey Joe Walcott : a boxing biography" James Curl says that he is not a writer by profession. He could be if he wanted. For someone's first work of nonfiction this is a very well researched and well written book. He also chose a very interesting person for his subject. Jersey Joe's life story has more twists than a Dickens novel. "Jersey Joe Walcott" was born Arnold Raymond Cream in 1914 to a large, poor family outside of Camden New Jersey. His family introduced him to boxing early, boxing matches between neighborhood boys was an affordable entertainment. at age 16 he started boxing professionally and soon his skill caught the attention of Jack Blackburn, an up and coming trainer. When Blackburn was hired to train in Chicago he invited the promising young boxer to go with him. Bad luck made its first visit to Walcott's career in the form of Typhoid Fever. While Walcott recuperated, it was over a year before he entered the ring again, Blackburn developed a boxer named Joe Louis. Twenty one years after his first professional fight Jersey Joe won the heavyweight boxing championship, he was the oldest man to take the title until George Foreman retook the title at age 46. His career was a seemingly endless story of changing fortune. At one point he was discouraged enough to quit boxing, but the need to feed his family forced him back into the ring. Walcott's story impressed me. His biggest fight, his toughest opponent, was poverty. Until new trainer, Felix Bocchicchio, came along, poverty was winning more rounds than Walcott was. After all how can a man win a professional heavyweight boxing match when his last meal, a few bites of bread and potatoes, was the day before? The Walcott / Bocchicchio relationship is an interesting part of the story. Bocchicchio was well known around Camden as a gangster and gambler who had served prison time but, according to Curl he treated Walcott fairly. The respect and loyalty the two men shared seems anachronistic for the pre-Civil Rights Era. Because this is about professional boxing there is no way I can call it "heartwarming" but I found it pleasantly surprising. Walcott's life story could be summed up with those words, pleasantly surprising. He lived a real life Horatio Alger story. I hope this is not Curl's last book. There are other stories that need to be told and he has the talent to tell them.
Top Negative Review
I'd like to say first off
I'd like to say first off that Jersey Joe Walcott has always struck me as an impressive fighter, and the opportunity to learn more about him was greatly appreciated. I also want to say that I understand there must be difficulties in researching the life of a fighter like Jersey Joe. It's truly a shame that earlier writers didn't pursue the opportunity to research more thoroughly the careers and lives of some of the great fighters of what was once America's most popular sport, but what's done is done. I'm glad to see that James Curl has tried to take up some of the abundant slack that has been left in this neglected field. Nevertheless, there's an obligation to put forward an honest assessment of the sort of book which by its very nature is an odd construction readily prone to flawed assertions; the boxing biography. It's not so much the boxing part of that which is problematic, but the biographical part. People simply don't write biographies on subjects that they don't either intend to glorify or demonize, so there's an inherent flaw in the objectivity of the genre itself. This shows in most boxing biographies, and particularly in autobiographies, and James Curl's bio of Jersey Joe Walcott is no exception, though arguably not as glaringly so as many, and perhaps most. Not wanting to ramble unnecessarily like a James Curl blow-for-blow description of a 15 round fight, I'll try to cut this short. There is an unfortunate lack of substance to this book which may have been unavoidable. Certain questions regarding the life of Jersey Joe at this point may be unanswerable. There are points in the book where you simply have to question what the writer was thinking... for example, when he describes Felix Bocchichio at one point as a suspect in a homicide and a well-known gangster, then very shortly thereafter describes Jersey Joe "recognizing him as a man of his word" and never attempts to reconcile how Jersey Joe, the purported "clean living athlete and devoutly religous man" could not only associate with but develop an extreme loyalty to an individual of such low repute and criminal associations. But such is life... it doesn't always have to make sense, and that's not entirely the writer's fault. The obvious discrepancies between photos provided in the book and the narrative, as described by other reviewers and particularly worthy of taking note of are of course, but still there's not too much harm in them... they tend to indicate that, like a Nat Fleischer description of a fight, one should be aware that the writer is largely attempting to describe something he views only from afar, and without understanding any of its subtleties, and that whenever events outpace his notetaking, he has to fill in the gaps with imagination to keep the narrative flowing and the reader entertained. In truth, the worst part of this book is the endless blow-by-blow accounts, or attempts at accounts, of Jersey Joe's fights. They drone on seemingly forever, encouraging us to envision things that only the writer sees. Sure, we can imagine what he describes, but would that truly represent the fight as it happened? Not a chance. Fights are too dynamic, too energized, and have too many dimensions to allow their speed, grace, power and fluidity to be expressed in mere words. A mere few seconds of a fight could be described in an abundance of words accurately, but in doing so would necessarily lose their sense of immediacy... what took fractions of a moment to happen could take up paragraphs or more to describe accurately, dulling the pacing of a dynamic experience. What can be described however, is the style of the fighter. Details of a fight can be conveyed without specifics. Curl described the "Walkaway", which he described as a signature move of Jersey Joe, and that helps define a fighter's style far better than a lengthy description of what punch landed in what round. That's the sort of thing he should have stuck to in his description of Jersey Joe's style. In short, or as short as a long-winded review can be, this book is sparse at the beginning, has too much filler in the middle, and is brief but satisfyingly informative at the end. The reason probably lies with the availability of reliable information on the subject. I appreciate that Mr. Curl wrote it, and would encourage him to try his hand at another on Ezzard Charles, another individual the memory of whom truly deserves biographical preservation. As for the quality of the writing, I would advise boxing fans that sometimes, particularly in hard times for the sport, you have to take what you can get. Appreciate it, just don't kid yourself about the quality.
Top Positive Review
In the introduction to hi
In the introduction to his book, "Jersey Joe Walcott : a boxing biography" James Curl says that he is not a writer by profession. He could be if he wanted. For someone's first work of nonfiction this is a very well researched and well written book. He also chose a very interesting person for his subject. Jersey Joe's life story has more twists than a Dickens novel. "Jersey Joe Walcott" was born Arnold Raymond Cream in 1914 to a large, poor family outside of Camden New Jersey. His family introduced him to boxing early, boxing matches between neighborhood boys was an affordable entertainment. at age 16 he started boxing professionally and soon his skill caught the attention of Jack Blackburn, an up and coming trainer. When Blackburn was hired to train in Chicago he invited the promising young boxer to go with him. Bad luck made its first visit to Walcott's career in the form of Typhoid Fever. While Walcott recuperated, it was over a year before he entered the ring again, Blackburn developed a boxer named Joe Louis. Twenty one years after his first professional fight Jersey Joe won the heavyweight boxing championship, he was the oldest man to take the title until George Foreman retook the title at age 46. His career was a seemingly endless story of changing fortune. At one point he was discouraged enough to quit boxing, but the need to feed his family forced him back into the ring. Walcott's story impressed me. His biggest fight, his toughest opponent, was poverty. Until new trainer, Felix Bocchicchio, came along, poverty was winning more rounds than Walcott was. After all how can a man win a professional heavyweight boxing match when his last meal, a few bites of bread and potatoes, was the day before? The Walcott / Bocchicchio relationship is an interesting part of the story. Bocchicchio was well known around Camden as a gangster and gambler who had served prison time but, according to Curl he treated Walcott fairly. The respect and loyalty the two men shared seems anachronistic for the pre-Civil Rights Era. Because this is about professional boxing there is no way I can call it "heartwarming" but I found it pleasantly surprising. Walcott's life story could be summed up with those words, pleasantly surprising. He lived a real life Horatio Alger story. I hope this is not Curl's last book. There are other stories that need to be told and he has the talent to tell them.
Top Negative Review
I'd like to say first off
I'd like to say first off that Jersey Joe Walcott has always struck me as an impressive fighter, and the opportunity to learn more about him was greatly appreciated. I also want to say that I understand there must be difficulties in researching the life of a fighter like Jersey Joe. It's truly a shame that earlier writers didn't pursue the opportunity to research more thoroughly the careers and lives of some of the great fighters of what was once America's most popular sport, but what's done is done. I'm glad to see that James Curl has tried to take up some of the abundant slack that has been left in this neglected field. Nevertheless, there's an obligation to put forward an honest assessment of the sort of book which by its very nature is an odd construction readily prone to flawed assertions; the boxing biography. It's not so much the boxing part of that which is problematic, but the biographical part. People simply don't write biographies on subjects that they don't either intend to glorify or demonize, so there's an inherent flaw in the objectivity of the genre itself. This shows in most boxing biographies, and particularly in autobiographies, and James Curl's bio of Jersey Joe Walcott is no exception, though arguably not as glaringly so as many, and perhaps most. Not wanting to ramble unnecessarily like a James Curl blow-for-blow description of a 15 round fight, I'll try to cut this short. There is an unfortunate lack of substance to this book which may have been unavoidable. Certain questions regarding the life of Jersey Joe at this point may be unanswerable. There are points in the book where you simply have to question what the writer was thinking... for example, when he describes Felix Bocchichio at one point as a suspect in a homicide and a well-known gangster, then very shortly thereafter describes Jersey Joe "recognizing him as a man of his word" and never attempts to reconcile how Jersey Joe, the purported "clean living athlete and devoutly religous man" could not only associate with but develop an extreme loyalty to an individual of such low repute and criminal associations. But such is life... it doesn't always have to make sense, and that's not entirely the writer's fault. The obvious discrepancies between photos provided in the book and the narrative, as described by other reviewers and particularly worthy of taking note of are of course, but still there's not too much harm in them... they tend to indicate that, like a Nat Fleischer description of a fight, one should be aware that the writer is largely attempting to describe something he views only from afar, and without understanding any of its subtleties, and that whenever events outpace his notetaking, he has to fill in the gaps with imagination to keep the narrative flowing and the reader entertained. In truth, the worst part of this book is the endless blow-by-blow accounts, or attempts at accounts, of Jersey Joe's fights. They drone on seemingly forever, encouraging us to envision things that only the writer sees. Sure, we can imagine what he describes, but would that truly represent the fight as it happened? Not a chance. Fights are too dynamic, too energized, and have too many dimensions to allow their speed, grace, power and fluidity to be expressed in mere words. A mere few seconds of a fight could be described in an abundance of words accurately, but in doing so would necessarily lose their sense of immediacy... what took fractions of a moment to happen could take up paragraphs or more to describe accurately, dulling the pacing of a dynamic experience. What can be described however, is the style of the fighter. Details of a fight can be conveyed without specifics. Curl described the "Walkaway", which he described as a signature move of Jersey Joe, and that helps define a fighter's style far better than a lengthy description of what punch landed in what round. That's the sort of thing he should have stuck to in his description of Jersey Joe's style. In short, or as short as a long-winded review can be, this book is sparse at the beginning, has too much filler in the middle, and is brief but satisfyingly informative at the end. The reason probably lies with the availability of reliable information on the subject. I appreciate that Mr. Curl wrote it, and would encourage him to try his hand at another on Ezzard Charles, another individual the memory of whom truly deserves biographical preservation. As for the quality of the writing, I would advise boxing fans that sometimes, particularly in hard times for the sport, you have to take what you can get. Appreciate it, just don't kid yourself about the quality.
1-5 of 7 reviews

In the introduction to hi

In the introduction to his book, "Jersey Joe Walcott : a boxing biography" James Curl says that he is not a writer by profession. He could be if he wanted. For someone's first work of nonfiction this is a very well researched and well written book. He also chose a very interesting person for his subject. Jersey Joe's life story has more twists than a Dickens novel. "Jersey Joe Walcott" was born Arnold Raymond Cream in 1914 to a large, poor family outside of Camden New Jersey. His family introduced him to boxing early, boxing matches between neighborhood boys was an affordable entertainment. at age 16 he started boxing professionally and soon his skill caught the attention of Jack Blackburn, an up and coming trainer. When Blackburn was hired to train in Chicago he invited the promising young boxer to go with him. Bad luck made its first visit to Walcott's career in the form of Typhoid Fever. While Walcott recuperated, it was over a year before he entered the ring again, Blackburn developed a boxer named Joe Louis. Twenty one years after his first professional fight Jersey Joe won the heavyweight boxing championship, he was the oldest man to take the title until George Foreman retook the title at age 46. His career was a seemingly endless story of changing fortune. At one point he was discouraged enough to quit boxing, but the need to feed his family forced him back into the ring. Walcott's story impressed me. His biggest fight, his toughest opponent, was poverty. Until new trainer, Felix Bocchicchio, came along, poverty was winning more rounds than Walcott was. After all how can a man win a professional heavyweight boxing match when his last meal, a few bites of bread and potatoes, was the day before? The Walcott / Bocchicchio relationship is an interesting part of the story. Bocchicchio was well known around Camden as a gangster and gambler who had served prison time but, according to Curl he treated Walcott fairly. The respect and loyalty the two men shared seems anachronistic for the pre-Civil Rights Era. Because this is about professional boxing there is no way I can call it "heartwarming" but I found it pleasantly surprising. Walcott's life story could be summed up with those words, pleasantly surprising. He lived a real life Horatio Alger story. I hope this is not Curl's last book. There are other stories that need to be told and he has the talent to tell them.

My reason for wanting to

My reason for wanting to read this book was because I like the rags to riches aspect of it, but the book is much more than that. About all I knew about boxing was from Friday Night at the Fights, which my dad watched back in the 1950s. The author did a great job of researching the story, and it is an amazing story, rich in detail about Jersey Joe Walcott's struggle to lift his family out of poverty, and to have a meaningful existence in this world. He was successful on all counts, and from beginning to end this book has many twists, turns and delightful surprises. I truly enjoyed it! I hope the author writes another book, perhaps on Ezzard Charles.

This is a light read...I

This is a light read...I think it's great that someone finally wrote a biography on Walcott and I love boxing books (especially about Depression Era and WWII era boxing, when it was huge) since the sport as it is currently practiced is no longer very good. But it's more a recap of his professional accomplishments and I felt like something was lacking in describing his personal life; I felt like I got to know him as a boxer and not as a human being. References were made mostly to public events, and not to any extant correspondence, and while a few of his contemporaries' opinions of the man found their way into the book, there weren't as many as I would have liked. As an additional note, I think the style of the book made it feel like a children's book...sentence structure was loose and it was written with an uncritical tendency towards idolization that left me a little bit cold...and on top of that there were quite a few grammatical errors. Having said all of this, I liked the book, I think it serves a purpose, and I appreciated it for what it was; I do however feel obliged to note honestly all of the issues that could be improved.

James Curl, author of "Je

James Curl, author of "Jersey Joe Walcott, a boxing Biography," states in the preface to the book that "no biography had been done on Walcott." Perhaps that explains why I, an on-again-off-again boxing fan had heard the name Jersey Joe Walcott, but knew little about the man. If you want to know more about him and his career, this is a book you should buy. Curl states that he's not a writer "by profession," and that shows at times, but for the most part, the book reads easily, flows fairly well. Curl is at his best when he's giving blow-by-blow accounts of the fights. Curl obviously became a big fan of Walcott while researching this book and it shows. While he never goes over the top, he's somewhat like a broadcaster for a major league team who is rooting for the home team and putting the best spin on it. Curl leaves no doubt that he believes Walcott was robbed by the decision in his first fight with Joe Louis. This is one instance where Curl came close to going over the top. (Based on the account in the book, I tend to believe it too, but I'm a reader not the author, so I don't have to be as object as the writer.)Walcott was clearly, based on this book and his record, a great fighter, but perhaps not quite as great as Curl believes. Curl gives an account of Walcott's struggle with poverty in his early life and career that made me admire Walcott as a person who would not give up and who held on to his strong moral beliefs. Definately a book worth reading for any sports fan, any boxing fan. Clearly a labor of love by the author.

I am not a boxing fan in

I am not a boxing fan in any sense of the word. I do know a little bit about the sport, but not really very much. One thing I do enjoy is reading biographies and learning of the lives of many kinds of people. In doing so I also learn something of the passions to which they engaged their talents. Having read Jersey Joe Walcott: A Boxing Biography, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012), by James Curl, I now understand more about boxing in general, as well as having acquired a particular appreciation for one of the "good guys" in a sub-culture that is permeated with many colorful, and a few unsavory, characters. James Curl has done a masterful job as a first-time author, taking his passion for boxing and finding a way to give something back to the sport he loves in the telling of the story of Jersey Joe Walcott. Walcott was a fighter active in the first-half of the 20th century who achieved the pinnacle of his vocation, the world championship in the heavy-weight division. The champion of any sport is endowed with exceptional talent but talent alone is rarely enough. Walcott's path to the top was exceedingly difficult and Curl shines light on every step. Jersey Joe Walcott was the ring name of Arnold Raymond Cream. He was born in Camden, NJ, in 1914, one of a family of 12 children. The poverty his family lived in was extreme and when he was 13 his father died so Cream began working to help support his mother and siblings. He began boxing professionally at age 16 and fought 36 times over the next ten years, earning a living as both a boxer and with whatever other work he could find. The early years of his career carried with them much of the hardship of his youth, as he married at 19 and soon had six of his own children to feed. World War Two brought both regular employment and an interruption to his career as a fighter. Returning to boxing as the war wound down he had a burning desire to win the world championship, held since 1937 by Joe Louis but he was unable to position himself for a chance to fight for the title until 1947, when at age 34 he entered the ring with Louis. In that fight he went 15 rounds with Louis but lost a decision that many observers thought he should have one. Disappointed but undeterred Walcott had another opportunity against Louis in 1948, losing by a knockout in the rematch. Walcott then had a third consecutive opportunity to win the title, fighting Ezzard Charles, who had defeated Louis, in 1949. The result was another loss by decision in 15 rounds. Pressing on towards his goal Walcott fought another 6 times before gaining a second chance at Charles in early 1951. Charles won this bout, again in 15 rounds, but in their third fight, 4 months later, Walcott knocked him out in the 7th round. At the age of 37 Walcott was the oldest person to win the heavyweight title as well as the only person to have had five title fight attempts. His reign as champion was relatively short-lived, successfully defending his title by defeating Charles in their fourth meeting but then losing to Rocky Marciano in a hard-fought 13 round battle. Marciano knocked-out Walcott in the first round of their rematch, effectively ending Walcott's boxing career. Crum's primary focus on Walcott is on his boxing career but I found Walcott's post-boxing career to be nearly as interesting as the time he spent as a fighter. Rather than live on riches of his later years as a fighter he soon went into the public sector, working for the city of Camden police department in the area of juvenile justice. He believed that there was a great need for people and programs to help youth that were growing up in the poverty he endured and he worked to provide a better path for them. He was also elected to a term as sheriff and then went back to working with youth until he retired. I found Walcott's story to be a model that runs against so much of what we see in sports today, where stars are feted as heroes, but their heroism is largely self-absorbed behavior lived out on a grand stage. Walcott was certainly driven to become a champion, persisting time and again when many people thought he was old and washed-up. But Crum also shows him to be patient, loyal, humble and thoughtful in his relationships with his family and business associates, as well as his opponents in the ring, many of whom became lifetime friends outside of the ring. I found Crum's writing to be engaging. Once I began reading I found the book hard to put down, as I wanted to keep reading and see what would happen next. Crum is a fan of boxing and fans will enjoy the way Crum tells of Walcott's career, particularly the first fights with both Louis and Marciano, two fights that were epic battles. But extensive knowledge of boxing is not needed in order to appreciate the story of Jersey Joe Walcott, one man who was able to achieve the fulfillment of his vision of the American Dream.
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Electrode, App-product, Comp-476642305, DC-prod-cdc03, ENV-prod-alpha, PROF-PROD, VER-29.0.16-rc-3, SHA-be3b5cd33cf2201002aafe92047174b804e8a87a, CID-
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Electrode, Comp-476642305, DC-prod-cdc03, ENV-prod-alpha, PROF-PROD, VER-29.0.16-rc-3, SHA-be3b5cd33cf2201002aafe92047174b804e8a87a, CID-be0203e4-911-16ae2dcb0a24a1, Generated: Thu, 23 May 2019 04:04:35 GMT