JOHN THE GREAT: The Times and Life of a Remarkable American by Donald Harr Chidsey

JOHN THE GREAT: The Times and Life of a Remarkable American

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This deserves attention beyond the limitations imposed at first thought by the fact of its being a biography of a prize fighter. Chidsey has given his subject all the energy, virility and gameness Sullivan demands. He was more than a prize-fighter; he was a symbol, a public hero, a myth to some, an oversized bully-barroom brawler to others, to all he had a quality of bigness which rarely failed to attract. Horn of Irish parentage, he worked his way up as the Strong Boy of Boston to big-time in New York, establishing claim to championship within a few years. A peripatetic career this, with a brief, unpleasant marriage; with a longer lived affair with buxom Ann Livingston; with a few years on top and then the skids as twice he opposed England's champion, Hitchell, and twice it was a draw. A break-up with Ann started his own deterioration, he ran through his million, and wound up gutted and bankrupt. Finally, his comeback, when he goes on the wagon and marries, at fifty odd, Kate, the severe Irish woman who would not have him while he drank, his retirement to a farm, and his work as a temperance lecturer. His greatness -- and his other sides -- well portrayed here.

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 1942
Publisher: Doubleday, Doran