Geoffrey C. Ward
Adult Nonfiction GV1196.J64 W37 2004
Summary: "Author of A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Prize for biography, and the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians; and, with Ken Burns, author of The Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz-Geoffrey C. Ward now brings his biographer's skill and grasp of American history to the most admired, and most reviled, African American of his era, heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. Johnson battled his way from obscurity to the top of the boxing ranks and in 1908 won the heavyweight championship-a prize that had always been the preserve of white combatants. At a time when whites ran everything in America, he resolved to live as if color did not exist. While most blacks struggled to survive, Johnson reveled in his riches and fame. And at a time when the mere suspicion of flirting with a white woman could cost a black man his life, he slept with whomever he pleased. He was seen as a danger to the natural order of things, so much so that the federal government set out to destroy him: he was forced to endure prison and seven years in exile. This full-scale biography-which draws on a wealth of contemporaneous documents, including Johnson's never-before-published prison memoir-restores to vivid life the real Jack Johnson, who was both more and less than those who loved or those who hated him ever knew."
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