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Description: "Two extraordinarily talented journalists, Michael Vitez and Tom Gralish, have captured this uniquely American phenomenon with whimsy, poignancy, and utter charm." --John Grogan, author of Marley & Me ?? Pulitzer Prize-winners Michael Vitez and Tom Gralish of the Philadelphia Inquirer spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories of "Rocky runners," who come from all over the world to run up America''s most famous steps--just as Sylvester Stallone did in Rocky. People make the pilgrimage to mark a new beginning, to seek inspiration, to celebrate an accomplishment, to find the perfect backdrop for romance, or simply because they love the movie. As one runner says, "It gives you the feeling that anything is possible." ?? The authors have uncovered an enduring cultural phenomenon, one that centers on Philadelphia, and yet, as Michael Vitez writes in his introduction, is a true American, and even international, rite of passage. ?? The book includes fifty-two profiles and one hundred color photographs, together with a foreword by Sylvester Stallone, and interviews with Rocky''s Academy Award-winning director John G. Avildsen, composer Bill Conti, and cameraman Garrett Brown. ?? In his foreword, Sylvester Stallone sums up his thoughts on the phenomenon: "You can''t borrow Superman''s cape. You can''t use the Jedi laser sword. But the steps are there. The steps are accessible. And standing up there, you kind of have a piece of theRocky pie." ?? * * * * * * * * * *????Praise for Rocky Stories: ?? "[C]harming photo essay of people who retraced Rocky''s steps and felt their own exhilaration doing it."--San Francisco Chronicle "The extent to which the Rockymyth--that of the perennial loser who proves he''s ''not just another bum from the neighborhood''--has resonated is documented in this winning book."--Sports Illustrated "I''ve only skimmed it, and already I''m in love with the book Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope, and Happiness at America''s Most Famous Steps.??(It had me at the title.)...It may sound like a movie tie-in, but it''s not. It''s just a fascinating testament to how the words ''Rocky'' and ''underdog'' are still interchangeable 30 years after the film''s release."--Entertainment Weekly''s PopWatch??column "Rocky Stories captures the sprawling complexity of life. It''s a delight." --Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down and Guests of the Ayatollah?? "A book that is an absolute joy and an absolute blast and quintessentially American in its hopes and dreams and sweetness." --Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights and A Prayer for the City?? "The Rocky steps have become a special place for tourists and Philadelphiansalike. Virtually everyone who lives here or comes here wants to say that they ran up the Rocky steps and saw the incredible view down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. When I was Mayor, the city planned 24 hours of millennium celebrations, one each hour. Of course we had to kick it off at the Rocky steps and we did so with 2,000 people all dressed like Rocky running up the steps at the same time. It was awesome." --Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell??????* * * * * * * * * * ?? A sampling of the people profiled in Rocky Stories: ?? Dave Checketts, former president of the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden Philip Baldino, five-year-old from South Philly Flavor Flav, hip-hop legend and reality TV starMarika Forras, an Australian woman who visited every baseball stadium in America (as her summer vacation) Catherine Andersen, TV news reporter from Colorado Joe Somerville, rugby player and lawyer for Wheel of Fortune (Vanna was there, but didn''t run!) Michael Sessions, an Air Force pilot from Austin who proposes to his girlfriend at the Steps Ojon Bogorquez, professionalroad-bike champion from Mexico Sarah Nesmith, breast cancer survivor from Philadelphia Michele Chevlier, high-school girls'' basketball coach from California Jesse Galle, Temple University student and heart-transplan