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A Neutral Corner: Boxing Essays [Fireside Sport Classic]. [Paperback]

Bill Barich , A. J. Liebling , Fred Warner , James Barbour
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Feb 1992 Fireside Sport Classic
Fifteen previously unpublished boxing pieces written between 1952 and 1963.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (Feb 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671750453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671750459
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,489,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"No modern writer makes better company."--Malcolm Jones, Jr., "Newsweek""Long before Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson were out of diapers, chubby Joe Liebling was taking his readers on excursions through the hidden and often hilarious levels of the bruised subculture [of boxing].... Liebling has the knack of informing and entertaining the uninitiated without boring the aficionados."--Katherine Dunn, "The Los Angeles Times Book Review""Fans who thought there was no more vintage Liebling to savor on a winter's eve can now rejoice. These fifteen previously uncollected prize-fighting pieces... add to the wordsmith's impressive knockout record."--"Time" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

A.J. Liebling joined the staff of "The New Yorker" in 1935 and wrote for the magazine until his death in 1963. Fred Warner and James Barbour are emeritus professors at the University of New Mexico. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN OUTSTANDING COLLECTION OF ESSAYS 9 July 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is a must for all boxing fans. It contains reviews of BOTH Patterson/Johansson and Patterson/Liston fights, plus Ali's first pro bout. Mr. Liebling was the consummate boxing writer. He gives some very interesting information on the fighters camps and personal lives that make for a great read. An essential addition to any library.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boxing Essays from a Master 9 July 2000
By Not Gullible Enough to be a Neocon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A.J. Leibling captures the smokey ambience of the ring and its world with a masterly hand. Joyce Carol Oates ("On Boxing") may be squeamish and over-dramatic, and Budd Schulberg self-promoting and exasperating, but Mr. Leibling the has a touch born of a top flight journalist and ardent boxing fan who also has the benefit of minute observation, a genial sense of humor, a well seasoned knowledge of the world, and a strong classical education. We enter the world protrayed in A Neutral Corner by way of the dingy confines of Stillman's gym in New York City, but on the way over are entertained by a short, amusing and thoroughly knowledgable meditation on the Great Ancients of boxing: 18th/19th century Pierce Egan (whom Liebling calls the ring's "Thucydides") and Jewish greats Dan Mendoza and Dutch Sam. Liebling muses on their significant contribution to the ring and that of the Jewish fighters in general and we finally fetch up at Stillman's gym (an icon of New York Boxing) simultaneously with the reflection that there are few Jewish fighters these (1952) days. "With a good Jew fighter now" One of the managers declares, "you could make a fortune of money." There is the rise of Irish fighters and the economic circumstances that gave birth to both Jewish and Irish fighters, and the availability of day jobs that waylay their ring ambition. Yet this is hardly a dry academic treatise, for it is entertwined and amplified by the thoughts and opinions of the trainers, managers and boxers at Stillman's.
Liebling is interested in everything and everyone, and nothing escapes his pen as he immerses the reader in whichever world he is illustrating with his mixture of scholarly observation and streetwise humor. At one point we arrive in Tunis, where one escapes from the oppressive heat into a museum and suddenly comes upon an ancient mosaic of a boxing match. It depicts one fighter knocking down the other. "The fellow on the receiving end", Liebling muses, "has an experienced disillusioned look, like that of a boy who has fought out of town before..." The Tunisian passion for prizefighting has deep roots, and seems hardly about to diminish, with the buildup to a local match nearly consuming the entire city.
Throughout these essays there is the sense of accompanying Liebling as he chats with the managers, watches the boxers train, pokes his head into training camps and interviews fighters and has a drink at The Neutral Corner, a New York bar and grill, to hash it all out. We sit with him near ringside where his smooth prose in no way interferes with his immediate and lively portrayal of the fights. We become acquainted with Floyd Patterson, a sensitive and intelligent fighter forever in search of his soul, the professorial Archie Moore, a very young Cassius Clay and another side of the habitually taciturn Sonny Liston.
Liebling's prose flows and some have remarked on its pyrotechnics, but is tight and descriptive, and his interests comprehensive. Each essay (originally printed in The New Yorker) builds an absorbing world of its own, though several are connected by common themes (for instance, Stillman's gym, Floyd Patterson's series of fights). This is a book for the die-hard boxing fan, for it there is little in it that does not pertain to boxing, its past and present. It can also be enjoyed by the general reader and lover of good writing, for it is a collecton of essays, each one lively and gracefully written, about the people, first and foremost, who make up the old and sometimes dark world of prizefighting.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And Here's The Rest 6 May 2007
By mojo_navigator - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's generally accepted that Liebling's The Sweet Science is the finest piece of Boxing literature ever concieved. The writing was lyrical in a way rarely seen in sports writing (or any other kind of writing for that matter), the world he described captivating. Just when we thought that that was all there was, lo and behold, here comes the second part of Lieblings oeuvre. And it's every bit as potent as the first part!

As with its predecessor, A Neutral Corner makes it's mark by intelligent and cultured writing that captures the atmosphere and culture of Boxing life in urban America in the mid-/late-'50s. If The Sweet Science focused on many characters, then A Neutral Corner chooses as its central hero Floyd Patterson - a fighter not normally held in high esteem in fight circles. Here we see his progression from champion to challenger to champion again and finally to his ultimate destruction. We are also treated to Liebling's by now well-established preference for the artistic rather than the brutal and this seems to be best expressed in his classic observations on a nascent Muhammad Ali ("The Poet"). Reading his initial thoughts on this larger-than-life character compounds the tragedy that he didn't live to see and wax lyrical on the flowering of that talent.

A.J. Liebling was no crude sports hack. The man was a scholar and an individual as these pieces attest. His writing is a poetry in itself.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN OUTSTANDING COLLECTION OF ESSAYS 9 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a must for all boxing fans. It contains reviews of BOTH Patterson/Johansson and Patterson/Liston fights, plus Ali's first pro bout. Mr. Liebling was the consummate boxing writer. He gives some very interesting information on the fighters camps and personal lives that make for a great read. An essential addition to any library
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Boxing Journalism! 26 Jan 2007
By Cwn_Annwn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a collection of essays Liebling wrote for the New Yorker back in the 1950's and early 1960's. Liebling does a great job of capturing the atmosphere around the fights, training camps and boxing gyms. Liebling is a humorous writer who really captures the personalities of fighters, managers, trainers and the overall feel for the boxing game. He points out the eccentricities and oddities of many people he encounters in the sport and while he finds humor in their weirdness and quirks he does so in a funny but affectionate way. I've spent many years around the boxing gyms and for all the bad things that go on, there are also some of the most unique and great people you will ever meet involved in the sport too. There is a certain character that exists in boxing that doesn't exist in major team sports whose players tend to be overpaid, spoiled, pampered, and totally lacking in brains, heart, personality and character.

Essays included in A Neutral Corner are his portrayal of Stillmans Gym in 1950's New York City, along with the local club fight scene in NYC at that time, great stuff about Archie Moore, Floyd Patterson, Ingemar Johansson, Sonny Liston, a young Cassius Clay, Cus D'Amato, the atmosphere and stories around fight cards in England, Tunisia and other places. This is all great stuff that really captures the essence of boxing. Liebling really loved boxing and appreciated the people involved and was far superior than the wormy cynical morons (in all fairness there are a few good writers covering the sport today) that pass themselves off as boxing writers today. This is classic boxing journalism!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard-boiled boxing 5 July 2000
By Derek D Prater - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Leibling's essays are filled with history, humanity and delightful idiosyncracies - all in a prose that recalls a bygone era. This book is not simply for fight fans, it's for anyone who loves to read.
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