Leon Patterson, A California Story

Publication Date: 


Winner of: Honorable Mention, Eric Hoffer Award 2016

Leon Patterson was a Southwestern migrant to California who, despite being raised in poverty, became a world-class athlete. Throwing the discus and putting the shot, he left indelible memories at both Taft Union High School and at the University of Southern California.

        He managed to accomplish remarkable things despite being terminally ill and knowing it. His inner strength was nurtured by a girl named Dixie Kenney, who loved him, by a coach named Tom O'Brien, who all but adopted him, and by the community that sustained them all.

Reviewer's Comments

"This small book is as big as Patterson's mettle -- yet even bigger, encompassing the hopes and aspirations of a generation born in poverty, who were resolute in ambition and destined for better days. This is a worthy addition to the lore of the Great Depression, the great American migration, and the great names that spring out of those troubled times."
     -- Barbara Bamberger Scott, US Review of Books

"A compelling look at a fierce competitor who died at a young age… well researched, historically conceptualized biography."
     -- Kirkus

"What Buck Owens and Merle Haggard and so many others achieved in music, Leon achieved on the athletic field, a toughness that belied the stereotypes of working-class whites… Haslam is the ideal writer to create this biography which is about far more than a gifted athlete who died so young."
     -- Marek Breiger, California English


Leon Patterson, A California Story was published by Devil Mountain Books in 2014. Devil Mountain Books is no longer in business; but copies of Leon Patterson, A California Story are available through Amazon as either the original book, or as an eBook [Click Here!].