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Joe Louis: My Life Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1981

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Berkley Pub Group (Mm) (Sept. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425044297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425044292
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,272,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you love Joe Louis then this is absolutely the book for you... simple. If you love boxing history then I believe you'll still find this a great read. You find out about joes life from joe himself. You can tell professional authors have assisted as the book is written well, structured well and never has time to get boring. You'll find out about joe's humble beginnings in Alabama. To moving to Detroit to escape the deep south in search of opportunity. How he overcame the colour barriers in boxing (and life too) with dignity yet humbleness to become quite possibly the greatest heavyweight ever. you'll hear about his time in the army. Then his fall from superstardom with financial and marriage trouble. Joe, although often acting as the perfect gentlemen (in order to gain the establishments and publics approval in a time when racism was more prominent) had flaws that most casual fans wont know about. No matter how great he was, he was human just like the rest of us... and his story proved to be a very enjoyable read. 'He was a credit to his race.. the human race'. Great person, Great life story of overcoming all kinds of barriers to be inspired by.
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Format: Paperback
joe louis my life is simply one of the best books i have ever read. they has been many books written about joe louis.
but if you want the real truth then read this book. by joe himself. the book made me feel as if joe louis was sitting right next to me telling his story. great man great book 5 stars.
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By Leon on 19 Dec. 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A very interesting read...a true legend of the sport speaking in hos own words which gives you good insight into his life & the times he was around.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great social history 31 Mar. 2004
By Jack Cheng - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Besides the entertaining account of Louis' life, this book includes some great anecdotes about American life in the middle of the 20th century, especially African American society.
Among the celebrities who merit a few pages are Lena Horne (who had an affair with Louis) and Jackie Robinson (Louis claims he helped integrate the Armed Service baseball teams). The descriptions of Harlem at its peak are terrific.
Despite all the revelations of infidelity and his terrible money sense, Louis comes across as warm and likeable. The descriptions of boxing matches are readable even to a non-sports fan, although at some points they tend to blur together. Lots of great pictures, too.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
THAT LEGEND WE CALL 'BROWN BOMBER' 6 Dec. 2002
By reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Oh, the "Brown Bomber"; that champ ranks among the greatest of all time.
The time I spent reading Joe Louis' autobiography was fascinating. Everything about the book depicted that gentleness that was his off-ring trademark. Yes, Color-Bar affected him like any other Black person of his generation, but he took it along in his strides. It is only the grace of God that transformed this poor sharecropper's son into one of the most famous persons of the 20th Century.
His record of 12-year reign as a champion, backed-up by an equally outstanding 25 title defences is still a burning candle that no heavyweight has been able to extinguish. I am only saddened by the fact that (American) racism (in those days, and to some extent today) did its best to hinder those credentials; as well as the joy that the post-ring gentleman deserved. May his soul Rest In Peace!
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Joe's Best 2 Oct. 2002
By thesavvybamalady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book came out two years before the Bomber died,and it was real good.I always remember hearing my parents talking about how they would hear Joe Louis fights on the radio,and how proud they felt.To this day they speak highly of him.Here, He is candid on his life,including his father's mental illness,women,boxing,financial challenges,marriages,etc.He don't leave nothing out. And I have enjoyed it then and now. I had some misconceptions about him, and was glad he cleared them up. Great for the generations that knew nothing about Joe, and those that did and wish to remember.
Highly recommended. 26 Nov. 2014
By Robert A. Massey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting book. Shipped quickly. In great shape.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Louis on Louis 20 Jan. 2010
By Herbert L Calhoun - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is Joe Louis' life told by him simply and in unvarnished language - almost as if dictated into a tape recorder. It is an easy speed-read.

As a simply boy from the red clay of Alabama, Louis lived a poor but virtually trouble-free life in the love and company of a close-knit family of a stepfather, mother and sixteen brothers and sisters. Until boxing, his only ambition in life was to become a gentleman farmer. His "real" father, unable to hack the harsh life of carving out an existence on 120 acres in the red clay of Alabama as a sharecropper, ended up in the insane asylum. Periodically he would escape and rejoin the family - that is, until his mom eventually got tired of trying to raise eight kids alone and remarried Patrick Brooks, who also had eight kids.

During the early part of the Depression years, Louis' parents decided to give up sharecropping and move to Detroit where they would have better opportunities and regular pay working for the Ford motor company. Once there, Louis, who stuttered badly, "never took to" regular school because he was teased and was a poor student. Eventually he was put into a vocational training school where he learned cabinetmaking. But his mom saw this as a dead-end for him and insisted that he also take up the violin. With his six foot two, 200-pound frame, toting a violin around the streets of Detroit's "black bottom," Louis was egging for trouble. Predictably, he ended up wrapping the violin around the head of one of his tormentors and was hustled into Brewster's East side gym by Golden Gloves holder Thurston McKinney. Once there, Joe makes the point that when he entered the gym, as well as throughout his boxing career, there was nothing at all natural about his boxing abilities or talents. He learned his craft the hard way: by listening, training and working hard for every inch of what he learned and accomplished. In fact his early amateur fights were so discouraging that for a six-month stretch he actually gave up boxing and went back to work for Ford. However, with his parents support, he eventually returned to the ring.

In judging what made Louis so successful (where many other heavyweights had failed), luck played an important role: Perhaps much greater than any innate talent he may have had, was finding an honest and talented trainer, manager -- and eventually, and equally talented and honest promoter, which for black fighters of that day, was much more difficult. With this fortuitous team, Louis continued to hone his skills and slowly worked his way up the heavyweight ladder, culminating in the first non-title bout with Primo Carnera and then on to the famous two bouts with Max Schmeling. Louis' narration of the two Schmeling fights alone is worth the price of the book.

As Louis tells it, in the first Schmeling fight, he went into the ring underprepared, cocky and got caught early in the second round with a vicious right to his jaw, which he never quite recovered from. The greatest pain however was the injury to his ego and in letting his family, friends and his race down. In the second fight, he went in focused and only with bad intentions and revenge in his heart: to do harm to Schmeling's Nazi soul. Although later in life they eventually became friends, it was Schmeling's ego that never quite recovered from the second fight.

The rest of the book is unusually predictable and formulaic in that it is a clinical narration of the "Brown Bomber's" fights, both noteworthy one's (such as with Billy Conn, and his toughest fight of all, that with the IRS), and many, many not so noteworthy ones as he traveled around boxing's version of the Chitlin circuit.

His later life, as it "petered down" to the life of a typical "has been" athlete, was predictably tragic: bravado about sexual conquests, several failed marriages, mindless squandering of his fortune, and his own mental problems. However, for us incurable pugilist fans, this book is like listening to the master and thus is an historical must. Three stars.
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