In Rocky Graziano: Fists, Fame, and Fortune (published March 10 by Rowman & Littlefied), Jeffrey Sussman tells the rags-to-riches story of Tommy Rocco Barbella, who came to be known as Rocky Graziano.
Raised by an abusive father, Graziano took to the streets and soon found himself in reformatories and prison cells. Drafted into the U.S. Army, Graziano went AWOL but was eventually caught, tried, and sent to prison for a year.
After his release, Rocky went on to have one successful boxing match after another and quickly ascended up the pyramid of professional boxing. In one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the middleweight division, Rocky beat Tony Zale and became the middleweight champion of the world.
Rocky retired from boxing after he lost his crown to Sugar Ray Robinson and went on to have a successful acting career in two acclaimed television series. Rich and famous, he was no longer the angry young man he once was. In his post-boxing life, Rocky became known for his good humor, witty remarks, and kindness and generosity to those in need.
Rocky Graziano’s life is not only inspiring, it is also a story of redemption, of how boxing became the vehicle for saving a young man from a life of anger and crime and leading him into a life of happiness and honesty. The first biography of Graziano in over 60 years, this book will bring his story to a new generation of boxing fans and sports historians.
Bill Calogero, boxing historian and host of the Talkin’ Boxing with Billy C, TV & Radio Program, wrote: “Rocky Graziano was one of my all-time favorite fighters. Being in the boxing business for over thirty-five years, I thought I knew it all about Rocky.
That was until I read Jeffrey Sussman’s new book, Rocky Graziano: Fists, Fame and Fortune. Sussman tells Graziano’s story like no other ever written. I learned things about Rocky I never knew before.
Sussman’s writing style not only educated me more about Rocky Graziano, he put me there with him. Page after page, I felt I was with Graziano, feeling his pain as a child and his triumphs as World Champion. I could not put it down! This book is a must read for all, not just boxing fans.”
In Booklist, Wes Lukowsky wrote: “Sussman does a fine job with the biographical details from start to finish, but he really nails the fight descriptions, creating a sensory experience in which the reader can almost feel the punches and hear the crowds. A vivid slice of boxing history.”
Jeffrey Sussman is also the author of the 2017 best seller: Max Baer and Barney Ross: Jewish Heroes of Boxing, published by Rowman & Littlefield.