This author appeared at the 2012 festival. Please view the list of authors appearing at this year's festival or see our suggestions for similar authors below.
In W. K. Stratton’s Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Life of Boxing’s Invisible Champion we get to experience the rise and fall of the “gentle giant” and reminisce over his forgotten but groundbreaking boxing career. As a child with a mounting criminal record for truancy and petty crimes, Patterson was obviously heading down the wrong path. During a brief stint at the correctional Wiltwyck School for Boys, Floyd discovered that he had a knack for boxing, the only sport that was integrated in the Forties. Soon after, Patterson was an Olympic gold medalist turning pro, returning to the very segregated world of the New York ghetto. Stratton tells the story of this unlikely boxing champion, from rough childhood to his rise to stardom as the youngest heavyweight champion and later his demise. Apart from his boxing record (which is included in the appendix) and career moves, Stratton includes Patterson’s civil rights involvement and how he fought in and out of the ring for the America he believed in. Stratton is also the author of Backyard Brawl, Chasing the Rodeo, and Boxing Shadows and he is the co-editor of Splendor in the Short Grass: The Grover Lewis Reader. His magazine writing has appeared in GQ, Sports Illustrated, Mayborn, and Outside, among other publications. He is the current president of the Texas Institute of Letters. A longtime student of boxing, Stratton trains at a gym in Austin alongside professionals and amateurs.