The Last Folk Hero Book Summary - The Last Folk Hero Book explained in key points
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The Last Folk Hero summary

Jeff Pearlman

The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson

(3 ratings)
18 mins

What is The Last Folk Hero about?

The Last Folk Hero (2022) dives into Bo Jackson's life and career as a multi-sport phenomenon. It details his early childhood days in Bessemer, Alabama, and the feats he accomplished as an amateur and professional player.

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    The Last Folk Hero
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    Bo Jackson’s childhood was rough, and sports became his coping mechanism.

    Maybe you think that famous athletes’ early lives are filled with camps and coaches who help them hone their skills and get ready for the world of professional sports. That might be true for some – but not for Bo Jackson. 

    Bo Jackson, born Vincent Edward Jackson, grew up in a three-room home in Bessemer, Alabama, with no bathrooms and nine siblings. His dad, A. D. Adams, was married to another woman and seldom around, while his mom, Florence Jackson, was a solo parent working long hours to make ends meet.

    Childhood was never smooth sailing for Bo. Decked out in hand-me-downs and soiled clothes, he and his siblings typically scavenged for wild animals just so they had something on their plates. They shared beds and earned a few extra cents by selling plastic bags to the neighborhood bootlegger.

    Living with next to nothing and a mom who whipped her kids with an extension cord, Bo grew up to be a troublemaker. He made a pastime out of bullying his classmates, stealing bikes, and throwing rocks at people. But things started to change one summer day in 1973. Bo, at the age of ten, found a better avenue for his time: sports.

    That summer, he joined the Bessemer Little League coached by his mom’s cousin-in-law. Right off the bat, people saw how natural of a player he was. Days of sprinting through the woods and flinging around rocks had obviously paid off for Bo. And before he knew it, he was playing for the Raimund Pirates in the Pony League – and then for the local industrial league's Ben All-Stars. 

    He was nowhere near an elite athlete yet. But little did everyone know that they were witnessing a sports superstar in the making.

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    About the Author

    Jeff Pearlman is a former ESPN and Sports Illustrated writer and now a New York Times best-selling author. He chronicled the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers in his book Showtime, which was later turned into the HBO series Winning Time.

    Who should read The Last Folk Hero?

    • People curious about Bo Jackson’s life
    • Football and baseball fans
    • Biography geeks

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