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At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing (Library of America) Hardcover – March 3, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

COLUM McCANN is the internationally bestselling author of seven novels and two collections of stories. His most recent novel, TransAtlantic, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and his previous novel, Let the Great World Spin, won the National Book Award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His fiction has been published in thirty-five languages. He lives in New York City with his wife and their three children.

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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (March 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598530925
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598530926
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,078,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Regardless of whether you are a fan of boxing or not, this book contains some of the finest writings I've come across. Not just in sports.Inside are 50 articles, some brief, others rather lengthy, all have been handpicked for their excellency, all are gems. There are many historic authors works throughout the book, Red Smith, Jack London, James Baldwin, W.C. Heinz, Damon Runyon, James Baldwin, Jimmy Cannon, and A.J. Liebling just to name a few. The articles are chronologically ordered in such a way that you can almost observe the transformation of the sport and times in America. Each author enshrines their own unique style within the pages amounting to a history of literature that deserves to be celebrated.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
boxing is at least this: first, two guys go into a confined space and perform unkind acts toward each other until one falls down, and then those with tertiary interests sit down and talk about it, sometimes forever. some rhapsodize, some carp, some split hairs, some count punches; all are in thrall. boxing is so elemental in its charm and brutality, its attending creperie so complex and seductive, that it attracts -- always -- a corps of literature's heavyweights and the literary manques who work the popular presses . . . excepting the interior artists such as, oh, say henry james, who don't pause at the door of the arena, even to sniff.

jack london has done this, and richard wright, and mencken, liebling, mailer, hamill, plimpton, talese, james baldwin, jimmy cannon, joyce carol oates, and others; and george kimball -- an assayer of the sport in his own time -- has assembled them in one good volume. if you enjoy a writer pestering a typewriter into pulped wood the way a jabber dances around a slugger and you like the way that work puffs air freshly into faded memories and storied affairs of more than a century, then this is the collection for you. the assembly so tried kimball, incidentally, that it required an assistant, john schulian, to retire him to his stool and end it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Classic look at boxing revealed by the classic and classy individuals who honored it with their presence and their words.
A wonderful reminder that the world was different and better mannered.
Writings of numerous, well respected writers and plenty of precious photographs
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here is all of the dirty work told about boxing
, Now we know why Don King and Bob Arum are rich and most of their fighters are either dead or dead assed broke........

A great tale all written by many boxers. managers, trainers, promoters and groupies from this generation.....
Almost all of them were out to clip as much money as they could from any fighter that allowed them to get their hands in their pockets.

I am so old that I go back to the Gilette Calvalade of Sports my Dad used to let watch with him and his buddies on our 8 in back and white TV that was in a consul with a "sterio" lol and a huge radio...

Man I learned to cuss and swear and found out then much to my disappointment that boxing was crooked, But I loved it up until the so called Super Champions were getting 3 and 4 shots at holding their titles while they were trying to stick us up for 50 bucks or more on TV.

This has the details.....It's a fun and interesting book to read.....
The sport was overrun with criminals and the Boxers were flat out screwed.
I am now geeked I just found a well reveiwed book about Jerry Quarry and should start it in the next few days,,,,,
It's worth buying if you like real life gossip like I do.......with no bull chit

They Talk about Frazier and Ali and how both were Tigers in the ring yet gentelman out ( except when they had to put on their promotional fight face lol)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for anyone interested in the history of boxing and to read some of the great literary writers (Jack London, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, George Plimpton) and sports writers (W.C. Heinz, Gay Talese, Red Smith, etc) on the subject. Read the real "next day" descriptions of famous fights and events and what really happened.
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Format: Hardcover
The Black and White of the Black and Blue and Bloody
SunPost Weekly May 12, 2011 John Hood

Boxing may not be the glory sport it once was back in its heyday -- and if last weekend's Manny Pacquiao/Shane Mosley bout was any indication, it's not gonna be either. But at its best, and its brightest, there's something brutally beautiful about the sweet science. No one knows this better than those who throw words around for a living, who find in the fistic not just the stuff of legend, but a veritable parallel to their own craft.

"What you have with a fight is what you have with writing, and they each become metaphors for each other -- the ring, the page; the punch, the word; the choreograhy, the keyboard; the feint, the suggestion; the bucket, the wastebasket; the sweat, the edit; the pretender, the critic; the bell, the deadline. There's the showoff shuffle, the mingled blood on your glove, the spitting your teeth up at the end of the day."

That's what Irish wordslinger Colum McCann claims in his Foreward to At the Fights (The Library of America $35). And it's a cinch that each and every writer featured in this robust collection would wholeheartedly agree. What McCann didn't mention though, was that, like fighters, many of writers featured here would boast their accounts to be the singlemost ass-kicking pieces ever put to print.

Okay, so maybe I exaggerate -- a little. For every Norman Mailer and Jack London, there's a good dozen like the late, great A.J. Liebling, whose prose was so forceful and fluid it stood toe-to-toe with even the most blow-hardiest of braggarts, and in many cases whipped their asses to boot. (It's no wonder The Library of America also collected Liebling's The Sweet Science and Other Writings.
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