Unforgivable Blackness by Geoffrey C. Ward
The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

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Synopsis

In this vivid biography Geoffrey C. Ward brings back to life the most celebrated — and the most reviled — African American of his age.

Jack Johnson battled his way out of obscurity and poverty in the Jim Crow South to win the title of heavyweight champion of the world. At a time when whites ran everything in America, he took orders from no one and resolved to live as if color did not exist. While most blacks struggled simply to exist, he reveled in his riches and his fame, sleeping with whomever he pleased, to the consternation and anger of much of white America. Because he did so the federal government set out to destroy him, and he was forced to endure prison and seven years of exile. This definitive biography portrays Jack Johnson as he really was--a battler against the bigotry of his era and the embodiment of American individualism.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Geoffrey C. Ward

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Geoffrey C. Ward is the coauthor of The Civil War (with Ken Burns and Ric Burns), and the author of A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt, which won the 1989 National Book Critics Circle Award for biography and the 1990 Francis Parkman Prize.
 
Published August 4, 2010 by Vintage. 544 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Unforgivable Blackness

Kirkus Reviews

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Indeed, he wrote, “I have found no better way of avoiding race prejudice than to act with people of other races as if prejudice did not exist.” It did, of course, in those days of Jim Crow, and Jack Johnson was derided by the press and eventually investigated by the fledgling FBI on charges of ha...

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The New York Times

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Johnson had every incentive to throw the fight -- the authorities, he felt, would treat him more sympathetically if he were no longer champion -- and many believed he did just that, an impression fostered by the famous photograph of a prostrate Johnson shielding his eyes from the scorching Cuban ...

Nov 07 2004 | Read Full Review of Unforgivable Blackness: The R...

The New York Times

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When it came to women, Johnson had a fatal case of what Ethel Waters called ''the white fever.'' Johnson's flouting of racial norms, at a time when black men were lynched even for looking at white women, horrified and disgusted many Americans, white and black alike.

Nov 07 2004 | Read Full Review of Unforgivable Blackness: The R...

Publishers Weekly

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Ward first documents the obstacles the boxing world threw in Johnson's path (including prolonged refusals by top white boxers to fight against him), and then probes the government's prosecution of the champ under the Mann Act (which banned the interstate transport of females for "immoral purposes...

Oct 11 2004 | Read Full Review of Unforgivable Blackness: The R...

Suite 101

Chris Spielman, retired NFL football star, writes a moving book about his life in football, his family and his wife Stefanie's battle with breast cancer.

Jun 28 2009 | Read Full Review of Unforgivable Blackness: The R...

Bookmarks Magazine

David Margolick San Diego Union-Tribune 2 of 5 Stars "Ward paints a vivid portrait of this complex and flawed, perhaps even tragic, figure, but doesn’t sum up his life.

Jan 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Unforgivable Blackness: The R...

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