Posted:  June 3, 2014                                            ANTONIO RUSSO

Wrestling with the DevilPlucked from his beloved Italian country-side, severed from his family, and placed on an ocean liner in the bay of Naples, Antonio Russo, just ten years old, embarks on the journey of his life. As he steps foot onto New York soil with not a word of English, his pockets stuffed with salami and provolone cheese and wearing a pair of shoes for the occasion, Antonio recalls the promise from his mother that in America he would find family members to take care of him and the trees blossoming with gold. This young Italian boy finds himself hit hard with a large dose of reality, obstacles at every turn. These obstacles would become the demons with which Antonio finds himself doing constant battle, but as fate would have it, he one day comes to realize that he is good at something. He finds by chance that he has a natural instinct and ability in the sport of wrestling. As his story unfolds, it would be the sport of wrestling that ignites a passion and guides him to the realization of his true potential, giving meaning to the struggle he and his family would endure in their journey from Southern Italy to the United States to create a better way of life.

This story is about a man who at the age of ten was sent from Italy to New York by his family. The first part deals with his struggles of being moved around from one family to another and also having to learn English. When he was 12 he sent across country to Portland Oregon and from there after a few years he started high school a coach came up to him and asked him to try out for wrestling, he did and wrestled for 4 years during that time his parents finally came to the states and after about 2 years they also settled in Portland. His younger brother got into wrestling and by the time he finished high school with his good grades got a scholarship to Arizona State University. After a year the coach asked his brother to have Tony come out for a visit. Even though he had been out of school for a few years he was looking for wrestlers. He ended up beating the 5 guys he went up against but his grades were not good coming out of high school. The coach helped him get a job and enroll in a JC for one year and then reapply, which he did and was accepted, and given a scholarship to wrestle and he also worked on getting a degree. He finished with a masters and became a coach, a wrestling coach and after many years he finally won a state championship as a coach. A really fascinating story. I got this book from net galley.

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