MICKEY WALKER, THE TOY BULLDOG, AND HIS TIMES by Mickey- as told to Joe Reichler Walker

MICKEY WALKER, THE TOY BULLDOG, AND HIS TIMES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mickey Walker had, even as a youth, a power of respect for things ""better"" than he was: The Law, Religion, Parents, Marriage. But (if we are to believe the memoirs he has ""told to"" Joe Reichler), he managed to lead an almost totally amoral life for many years. The tough kid from Elizabeth, N.J. was expelled from parochial school for fighting, then defied his father by turning to professional boxing as a livelihood (yet later dissuaded both his brother and his sons from entering the ring). Having taken his first title- welter-weight, 1922- he straightaway let it go to his head: ""Fame and fortune at 25. I wasn't equipped mentally for it and I made mistakes."" How many mistakes becomes evident as we see the Toy Bulldog carousing through Prohibition picking up the tab for every manner of hanger-on -- often breaking training and then nearly killing himself getting back in shape for a fight. Looping-the-loop through a succession of businesses, real estate investments, and associations with Broadway and Hollywood, he destroyed numerous marriages and alienated Boxing Commissions. All the while, he revealed in all sorts of close calls with the underworld, short of actually throwing a fight. When he finally retired from the ring, he was able to expose a long suppressed desire to paint, and won a fair reputation as a ""primitive"". His ethical shortcomings belong to the ""era of wonderful nonsense"" in which many men strayed. Now apparently he has evolved into a solid citizen, and it in difficult to blame him for past misleads. he is a fairly endearing character despite his cavalier attitude toward morality.

Publisher: Random House