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on 15 May 2014
If the name Springs Toledo registers then you probably clicked "add to basket" with a grin. For those unacquainted, it's OK to get your hopes up a little.

In The Gods of War: Boxing Essays, Toledo gets his "meaty paws" on a timeless subject and, much like how the great Mickey Walker "steadily de-clawed" a wild cat in Ace Hudkins, the author carefully removes those unwanted clichés and recycled stories from his prose that routinely bruise capable writers.

These essays are for everybody, but it's reassuring to know that a seasoned voice is behind the rich text. True boxing writers must have a taste for archaeology. It's as much about being ingloriously hunched over in your search for microfilm as it is about supping caffeine to help get that first paragraph off the ground. Toledo informs as he entertains. Two of the well-reasoned arguments that stood out for me - Sonny Liston as an all-time heavyweight terror, and the myth of Sugar Ray Leonard's slugging tactics against Roberto Duran in Montreal.

Preceding the Liston chronicles and a dazzling top ten countdown of the greatest (post 1920) scrappers of all-time are a motley of little gems. Perhaps `Black July' was my favourite in which Toledo cleverly plaits his story while touching upon those universal truths that, if only for a resin-coated moment, bind the reader to the fighter.

Essential stuff.
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on 26 January 2015
"Boxing is the sport, that all other sports aspire to be."
- Heavyweight Champion of the world. George Foreman.

What is it about boxing that captures the imagination? What is it about boxing that brings and carries deep loyalties that go well beyond a fighter's active years? Lists are always argued and debated, at times with heated passion. Boxing has it's very own niche...Because like Mr. Foreman said, it is a sport that has no equal in terms of drama and theatre, because in part, boxing asks so much of it's participants through sacrifice.

In this book, "The Gods of War" by Springs Toledo, Mr. Toledo glimpses into the lives of ten of the greatest champions from the modern era of boxing. The personalities are much different, some dignified, some fierce, some completely ego driven, some utterly fearless. All of them however, were driven by the inspiration of greatness in their chosen field. This book, unlike many predecessors delves into those personalities, looking at the men and their accomplishments.

The late Joe Rein stated, "This isn't sports writing - it's literature!"

I recall many a time speaking with Joe about boxing and the views he had shared by following the sport, and the fighters that I appreciated as a fan. In my minds eye, I could see and imagine the stories Joe shared...It was good times. This book by Springs Toledo takes a kindred spirit view of the many layers of what made the fighters, who they were, what made the greats...GREAT.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

And I'll wholeheartedly second what Joe Rein said, 'This isn't sports writing - it's literature!"
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on 18 August 2015
Just a brief review, one or two points I think worth mentioning:

Firstly, not a bad book by any means. Some of the writing is sharp, muscular and well-structured. Boxing has a rich literary-heritage, and Toledo is clearly aware of the greats, the 'giants' who have preceded him in his efforts. Therein lies the trap. In an attempt to step out of the shadows of the Lieblings and Mailers of the world, some of the prose seems a little contrived and grandiose. Also, a fair amount of the base of this writing seems to be 'derived' (lifted would be a slightly unkind description) directly from other boxing works. A little cheeky for a book that purports to be original essays (and £20 to boot).
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on 11 June 2016
I was put onto this book, and Springs Toledo, through an internet boxing forum (Eastside Boxing, then Chechhook Boxing). I was told that this book is the book I needed to read. I'm not the kind of gent to be told to do anything, but when so many people were pointing me towards this book then it's something I have to have a look at.

I bought the book. It's the best £25 I've spent on a book in my 30 or so years of book buying.

In terms of knowledge of the sport, Springs is absolutely spot on, absolutely note perfect. His writing style is exemplary, he tells it as it is, he tells you exactly what he wants you to read...in a nice way as opposed to a dictatorial way. I won't go into the content of Springs' work as I believe you should read the book and judge for yourself. It's a magical book, absolutely magical. It's up there in my collection of boxing books with every other modern colossus of boxing book.

If you're a fight fan, as I am, then this is most certainly a must.

Five out of five doesn't even cover it...it deserves more.
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on 17 August 2015
An exceptional series of essays by an extraordinary talented and well informed writer. The pieces on Sonny Liston are particularly insightful. They paint an accurate picture of one of the most exceptionally talented heavyweight boxers of all time within the socio-political context of the late 1950s and early 1960s when Liston was at his most awesome, but whose image and reputation were deemed to be anachronistic and expedient within the changing and bitter political landscape of the emerging civil rights movement in the United States.
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on 30 March 2015
Bought this as a gift for my boxing mad Dad. He has been overwhelmed by the writing quality of Springs Toledo and would thoroughly recommend this book to any boxing fan.
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on 25 January 2015
As good as it gets. If your a fight person just buy it. Dont think about it just buy it.
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on 15 February 2015
Fantastic book
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on 24 March 2015
I love both good writing and boxing.But this is just pretentious crap.
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