________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 14 . . . . December 4, 2009


Fearless: The Story of George Chuvalo, Canada's Greatest Boxer. (Recordbooks).

Richard Brignall.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2009.
160 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55277-435-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55277-436-6 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Chuvalo, George, 1937- -Juvenile literature.
Boxers (Sports)-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 6-8 / Ages 11-13.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

*** 1/2 /4


George gave the crowd much to cheer about. He knocked down Durelle six times during the match. He did everything to produce a knockout. But Durelle took a lot of punishment. He wouldn't stay down for the ten count. He always got up to continue absorbing George's punches.


Disclaimer: I am not a fan of boxing. I assumed that I wouldn't relate very well to the content of this book. I am happy to report that I was wrong.

     Written in chronological order, Fearless tells the story of one of Canada's great sports figures from his early days growing up in the Junction in Toronto, through the ups and downs of his career, to his current fight to stop drug addiction.

     For anyone with an interest in boxing, Fearless has many interesting details contained in text boxes imbedded within the story.

Becoming a Contender

Before a boxer can challenge for the World title, they must work their way up by winning fights. It is important to defeat more experienced fighters. If a boxer defeats enough experienced fighters he is considered a contender for the title. They are seen as having the ability to defeat the champion. The boxing champion must fight contenders to retain his title.

     There is also a glossary of boxing terms and an index at the back of the book.

     For readers who may not have a particular interest in boxing, the story of George Chuvalo's life has more than enough drama and tragedy to make for an interesting read. Chuvalo faced all of the boxing greats of his time, including George Foreman, Floyd Patterson, and Muhammad Ali, and was never knocked out.

     Eventually Chuvalo made a good living from boxing, but his personal life was less successful. His family was devastated by drug addiction. Three of his four sons and his wife all died tragically in drug related circumstances. The epilogue makes the connection between Chuvalo's toughness as a boxer and his current toughness in choosing to not give up but to instead launch a campaign against drug addiction. He tours and tells his story to high-school students.

     Written at the Grade 5 reading level, Fearless will appeal to a wide range of ages. This is the third in the "Recordbook" series written or co-written by Richard Brignall. Several archival photos and vintage sports magazine covers scattered throughout the book add a sense of history to the story.

     One caution: After only one gentle read, the front cover was creased and separating along a fold line about 5mm in from the spine. You would be wise to tape the spine before you let it circulate.

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen's University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.