Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson

From the author of the critically acclaimed "In Black and White" comes another illuminating narrative in which Haygood explores one of the 20th-century's most iconic figures of the fight game, Sugar Ray Robinson.
From the author of the critically acclaimed IN BLACK AND WHITE: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr, comes another illuminating socio-historical narrative of the Twentieth Century, this one spun around one of the most iconic figures of the fight game, Sugar Ray Robinson. Continuing to set himself apart as one of our canniest cultural historians, Haygood grounds the spectacular story of Robinsons rise to greatness within the context of his life and times. Born Walker Smith, Jr., in Detroit, 1921, the fighters early childhood was marked by the seething racial tensions and explosive race riots that infected the Midwest throughout the 20s and 30s. After his mother moved him and his sisters to the relative safety of Harlem, he came of age in the vibrant post-Renaissance years; it was there that, encouraged to box by his mother, who wanted him off the streets, he soon became a rising star, cutting an electrifying, glamorous figure, riding around town in his famous pink Cadillac. Beyond the celebrity though, Sugar Ray would also emerge as a powerful, often controversial black symbol in a rapidly changing America. Haygood also weaves in the stories of Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, and Miles Davis, all of whose lives not only intersected with Sugar Rays, but also contribute richly to the scope and soul of the book. From his gruesome six-bout war with Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta and his lethal meeting with Jimmy Doyle, to his Harlem nightclub years and thwarted show-biz dreams, Wil Haygood brings Sugar Rays story, in the ring and out, powerfully to life against a vividly painted backdrop of the world he captivated. Wil Haygood is a prizewinning staff writer for the Washington Post and an acclaimed biographer. His In BLACK AND WHITE was internationally praised. Among its honors were the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and the Nonfiction Book of the Year Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.
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