bookNow in Paperback! The story of the hard-hitting, hard-drinking Gilded Age boxer who became the country’s first sports superstar and Irish-American hero



“Freelance writer Klein offers this treasure trove of information that covers sports, celebrity, crime, politics and entertainment as he tracks the John L. Sullivan, “Boston Strong Boy,” across the country and globe as he rises from the tenement to the heavyweight championship and everything that came with it. Boxing fans will delight in the detailed accounts of Sullivan’s battles (he was the heavyweight champion from 1882 to 1892) with Paddy Ryan, Charley Mitchell, Jake Kilrain, and Jim Corbett, while others might find more interest in Sullivan drunken exploits. Also, of interest is how Klein, using his expressive-yet-scholarly prose (“A boxer always represents power in its most visceral sense, and John L. symbolized an ascendant America that was flexing its economic muscles”), ties Sullivan to the issues of the era, such as temperance, class and race relations, immigration, and America’s growth into a world power. In fact, if this book has a drawback it might be that boxing sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of all Sullivan’s other activities. Still, Klein should not be faulted for his thoroughness since, even though this may not be the first book about Sullivan, it just may be the most exhaustive.”

—Publisher's Weekly