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An exhaustive—and exhausting—chronicle of the champ's boxing career and disastrous life.

Tyson was dealt an unforgiving hand as a child, raised in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn in a "horrific, tough and gruesome" environment populated by "loud, aggressive" people who "smelled like raw sewage.” A first-grade dropout with several break-ins under his belt by age 7, his formal education resumed when he was placed in juvenile detention at age 11, but the lesson he learned at home was to do absolutely anything to survive. Two years later, his career path was set when he met legendary boxing trainer Cus D'Amato. However, Tyson’s temperament never changed; if anything, it hardened when he took on the persona of Iron Mike, a merciless and savage fighter who became undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. By his own admission, he was an "arrogant sociopath" in and out of the ring, and he never reconciled his thuggish childhood with his adult self—nor did he try. He still partied with pimps, drug addicts and hustlers, and he was determined to feed all of his vices and fuel several drug addictions at the cost of his freedom (he recounts his well-documented incarcerations), sanity and children. Yet throughout this time, he remained a voracious reader, and he compares himself to Clovis and Charlemagne and references Camus, Sartre, Mao Zedong and Nietzsche's "Overman" in casual conversation. Tyson is a slumdog philosopher whose insatiable appetites have ruined his life many times over. He remains self-loathing and pitiable, and his tone throughout the book is sardonic, exasperated and indignant, his language consistently crude. The book, co-authored by Sloman (co-author: Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss, 2012, etc.), reads like his journal; he updated it after reading the galleys and added "A Postscript to the Epilogue" as well.

At this rate, Tyson may write a multivolume memoir as he continues to struggle and survive.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-399-16128-5
Page count: 592pp
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2013


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