Four Feet Tall and Rising
By Shorty Rossi
Crown Archetype, Hardcover, 9780307985880, 272pp.
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
List Price: $25.00*
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Luigi Francis Shorty Rossi, the tough-talking, fedora-wearing star of Animal Planet’s hit show Pit Boss, may stand only four feet tall but that hasn’t stopped him from living large, becoming a successful businessman and an outspoken advocate for pit bulls, the most misunderstood breed of dog in the world.
A third generation dwarf, ex-gang member, and ex-con, Shorty knows what it’s like to be misunderstood and in this candid memoir, he shares his personal story for the first time. No one expected Shorty to live let alone succeed, and yet he has, overcoming every challenge, from an abusive home to the violent streets and gangs of South Central LA, to the notorious cell blocks of Folsom Prison where he was imprisoned for attempted murder.
After 10 years, 10 months, and 10 days behind bars, Shorty gained his freedom and the chance to put his entrepreneurial and negotiation skills to the test. He cut the ribbon on his own business, Shortywood, with three goals: to turn his life around, act as a talent agent for little people and establish and fund charities that advocate for, rescue and place abandoned or abused pit bulls into safe homes. In the process, he became a reality-TV star. Now, with Hercules, his rescued pit bull and newly trained service dog by his side, Shorty continues to save pits from the basements and backyards of breeders and abusers while taking on new and even bigger challenges. And nothing is gonna stand in his way.
Shorty Rossi is four feet tall—and rising.
“In this energetic autobiography, Rossi—a “third-generation Little Person”—tells a fascinating life story, including his early escape from his dysfunctional, antisocial dad; living on the street at age 14 and becoming a legendary white member of the L.A. Crips gang, which led to a 10-year prison sentence; and his postprison career as the head of a talent agency for little people. Through it all, however, runs the thread of Rossi’s relationship with pit bulls, from the first pit that helped him through his tough adolescence to the number of pits he currently owns. Starting with one “spark”—“to convince kids in the projects that pit bulls weren’t dangerous and shouldn’t be used for fighting”—Rossi starts his own rescue service, which allows him to free dozens of pit bulls and develop an in-your-face approach to people who mistreat the breed. This led to his discovery by Animal Planet and his development as a dynamic television personality. But Rossi makes no apologies for his passion: “Dog rescue often turns normal, good-intentioned people into crazy fanatics.”
– Publishers Weekly
“A candid, charged slice of personal history.”
“Fans of Animal Planet’s Pit Boss will recognize Rossi as talent manager and owner of Shortywood Entertainment and founder of Shorty’s Pit Bull Rescue. Here, he tells his life story—and what a story it is!...Rossi’s riveting account includes prison encounters with Richard “Night Stalker” Ramirez and Rick James, his stint as Alvin at Universal Studios, and dealing with international fame as a reality-television star. Funny and foul-mouthed, Rossi and his book have tremendous appeal.”
— Library Journal