Sweet Science


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LIEBLING, A.J. The Sweet Science. New York: Viking Press, 1956. Thick octavo, original half orange cloth, original dust jacket.

First edition of Liebling’s classic survey of 18 great boxing matches, including those of Billy Ray, “the last surviving bare-knuckle fighter.”

"Pound-for-pound the top boxing writer of all time, Liebling is at his bare-knuckled best here, bobbing and weaving between superb reporting and evocative prose. The fistic figures depicted in this timeless collection of New Yorker essays range from champs such as Rocky Marciano and Sugar Ray Robinson to endearing palookas and eccentric cornermen on the fringes of the squared circle. Liebling's writing is efficient yet stylish, acerbic yet soft and sympathetic. ('The sweet science, like an old rap or the memory of love, follows its victims everywhere.') He leavens these flourishes with an eye for detail worthy of Henry James. The one-two combination allows him to convey how boxing can at once be so repugnant and so alluring" (Sports Illustrated Top 100 Sports Books of All Time).

Book with only mild toning to top edge, dust jacket with only light wear mainly to extremities. A handsome, near-fine copy.

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