July 10, 2007
Speaker: Author, Paul Kennedy
From Author House website : Pittsburgh native Paul F. Kennedy has written over 60 articles for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, mostly about local history, including Pittsburgh’s impressive boxing history. He has published articles, poetry, and short fiction in such diverse publications as Boxing Digest, Loyalhanna Review, Laurel Highlands Scene, Miraculous Medal, and Pittsburgh Quarterly. In 2001 he published A Pittsburgh Gamble, a novel that takes place in Pittsburgh during the 1960 Pirate-Yankee World Series.
Paul is a graduate of Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He currently lives with wife Patricia in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
As a child, Paul heard tales of the days of the great Pittsburgh boxers, of the time when the Pittsburgh area owned five of the eight world titles between 1939 and 1941. He heard of how Fritzie Zivic won the title from Henry Armstrong, and of how Charley Burley was the best fighter never to hold a title. But the most heralded legend was of how an undersized Billy Conn, young, handsome, and talented, had the great Joe Louis beat, only to lose by getting too cocky and trying to knock him out. As a teenager in Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze section, Paul witnessed Conn, who lived in nearby Squirrel Hill, taking long solo walks through the neighborhood. Though elderly at the time, Conn still had a rugged look and formidable physical presence.
Paul has had the good fortune to gain access to the Conn family’s vast treasure of information about Billy’s life and career. Billy Conn – the Pittsburgh Kid, his first biography, is the result.