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The Gods of War Hardcover – April 24, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 84 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"The Gods of War is filled with beautifully-written essays about a sport that is considered anything but beautiful."~JEREMY HOBSON, co-host of NPR's "Here and Now"

"Springs Toledo's great book is a literate and literary gift to boxing fans. Whether it's his provocative assessment of Sonny Liston, his revivification of the unsung heroes of Murderers' Row, or his carefully-conceived stab at all-time rankings, every page is worth reading and re-reading. It is writing like this which sets boxing apart from other sports."~JIM LAMPLEY, IBHOF Class of 2015

"--Greatest boxing book ever written."~DOUGLAS CAVANAUGH, IBRO

"The Gods of War is one of the best books on the Sweet Science I have ever read. I love the book and if you are a boxing fan you will love it too." ~GORDON MARINO, boxing writer, Wall Street Journal, professional boxing trainer

"With The Gods of War, Springs Toledo joins the select group of real writers who understand boxing and elevate boxing to the height it deserves. ~ADAM BERLIN, author of The Number of Missing

"If you've enjoyed the likes of A.J. Liebling and Norman Mailer you will find a fragile beauty at times overwhelming in Toledo's work. He is a writer who's at his best looking backwards, and at his best there's no one better." ~SAM SHEPPARD, The Queensberry Rules

"I love this book. It's a work of world-class literature." ~BRUCE GELLERMAN, Senior Correspondent WBUR

"Every page is a gem unto itself." ~MIKE SILVER, The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science

"Springs Toledo pounds out an astute choreography that is as graceful as it is engaging, as imaginative as it is real. If you don't dance away shadowboxing, you probably weren't that into the sport to begin with." ~PAUL BLUMER, New England Review

"I loved The Gods of War. Don't miss this book -interesting, well-written, and the type of book you just can't put down once you've read the first page." ~HAROLD LEDERMAN, IBHOF Class of 2016

From the Inside Flap

After the final bell, a jubilant Duran leaps into the air. Before he lands he sees Leonard daring to raise his arms in victory and the coals of his eyes burn. He shoves and spits at his adversary, then stalks toward the ropes at ringside and grabs his crotch as he hurls Spanish epithets... The announcer shouts "le nouveau!" into the microphone, and victorious, the raging champion is hoisted up above the crowd -above the world- still cursing the vanquished.
~ The Fifth God of War
Sugar Ray Leonard's narrative about why he lost to Roberto Duran in their first fight is no less misleading than Duran's excuses for why he quit in the rematch. The truth behind Leonard's first professional loss is in this book; one of many gems in a series counting down the ten greatest fighters since 1920. Award-winning boxing writer Springs Toledo calls them "gods of war" and makes a compelling case for his conclusions. The greatest of them all, he writes, is neither Muhammad Ali nor the original Sugar Ray. If you're about to douse your stogie,shatter your tea cup, or drop this book, hold on, because his arguments will rattle your convictions.

The"Gods of War" series isn't all that readers will find in The Gods of War: Boxing Essays. Toledo's writing has been described as "warrior poetry" and this book is a showcase of what that means. It transcends factoids, dry text, and threadbare yarns and conjures up legendary fighters without pulling punches.

* Gaze at the tragic Sonny Liston's grave as he is pulled out from under the shadow of Ali and given an overdue gift of a birthday.

* Watch as heavyweight king Wladimir Klitchko is pitted against Jack Dempsey and found wanting.

* Stand in awe as Jewish fighters from first-century Palestine evolve into twentieth-century champions and show history what commitment is.

* Experience an insider's take on the deaths of four fighters and what they represent in a society losing its grip on masculinity, meaningfulness, and reality.

Boxing purists are in for a fresh look at an old love. Casual fans are in for a treat.Detractors will see for themselves what the allure is; and if their minds are open, they'll see boxing for what it has always been -a friend of the poor.

Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Wright, Norman Mailer, and of course, A.J. Liebling have made boxing writing the pound-for-pound best in sports. Springs Toledo just threw a brick through their window.

Product details

  • Publisher : Tora Book Publishing (April 24, 2014)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 218 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0954392450
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0954392451
  • Item Weight : 14.6 ounces
  • Dimensions : 5.51 x 0.63 x 8.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 84 ratings

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