Sweet Thunder

Sweet Thunder
Sweet Thunder

Sweet Thunder

The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson
By Wil Haygood


480 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB, PDF, Mobipocket

Trade Paper, $24.99 (US $24.99) (CA $33.99)

ISBN 9781569766088

Rights: US & CA

Chicago Review Press (Apr 2011)
Lawrence Hill Books


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The story of the most important fighter of the 20th century
Sugar Ray Robinson was one of the most iconic figures in sports and possibly the greatest boxer of all time. His legendary career spanned nearly 26 years, including his titles as the middleweight and welterweight champion of the world and close to 200 professional bouts. This illuminating biography grounds the spectacular story of Robinson's rise to greatness within the context of the fighter's life and times. Born Walker Smith Jr. in 1921, Robinson’s early childhood was marked by the seething racial tensions and explosive race riots that infected the Midwest throughout the 1920s and 1930s. After his mother moved their family to Harlem, he came of age in the post-Renaissance years. Recounting his local and national fame, this deeply researched and honest account depicts Robinson as an eccentric and glamorous—yet powerful and controversial—celebrity, athlete, and cultural symbol. From Robinson’s gruesome six-bout war with Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta and his lethal meeting with Jimmy Doyle to his Harlem nightclub years and thwarted showbiz dreams, Haygood brings the champion’s story to life.


"For decades it seems, boxing scribes have fussed over one of the unending arguments: Who is, pound for pound, the best fighter of all time? Sugar Ray Robinson is always in that conversation. And should the topic ever pivot to the best writers about the sport, Haygood should be too." —Associated Press

"'Sweet Thunder' is a literary knockout." —Sports Illustrated

"Haygood has given us a lot to ponder in this multi-layered biography about a complex man who epitomized so much of his era. For those who don't know the story, it will have plenty to teach, about style, grace, intelligence and heart." —New York Times Book Review

"Haygood's prose is highly stylized, with a self-conscious, jazzy rhythm, and it soars in places." —Toronto Globe and Mail

"Writing with grace about a figure as elegant and punishing as Sugar Ray Robinson is no mean feat, but Haygood's deft biography does a beautiful dance between the man and his times." —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Pound for pound, Sugar Ray Robinson was regarded as the best fighter in boxing during his career. Page for page, Haygood's biography is a dazzling read." —Newark Star-Ledger

"Were all of American history written with the style and passion Wil Haygood pumps into his dazzling biography of boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, college history departments would be stormed by eager students." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"A biography of astonishing depth." —Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Author Biography

Wil Haygood is an award-winning author and journalist and a national reporter for the Washington Post. He is the author of The Haygoods of Columbus, In Black and White, and King of the Cats. He lives in Washington, DC.