A Photobiography of Boxer Joe Louis
By George Sullivan
(National Geographic Society, Hardcover, 9781426303289, 64pp.)
Publication Date: October 14, 2008
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Joe Louis was the first African-American to achieve a position of national prominence in 20th century America. His success and his dignified public persona as champion were a source of great pride to African-Americans, whose heroes were rarely accorded recognition or respect. "Knockout " sets the story of The Brown Bomber's rise to fame against the background of his time. Blacks were not permitted to play major league baseball or football, and as the nation struggled through the depression in the 1930s and World War II in the 1940s, Louis became a symbol of hope to all facing hardship. Louis's series of fights against Max Schmeling of Germany became the defining acts of his career. The reluctant Schmeling was promoted by Hitler's regime as the symbol of Aryan supremacy, but Louis's stunning victory in 1938 punctured the Nazi propaganda. Louis's sensational first-round TKO win at Yankee Stadium also established the Alabama fighter as one of the most popular figures for Americans of all races.