The restaurants of the Latin Quarter and the city rooms of Manhattan; the beachheads of Normandy and the boxing gyms of Times Square; the trackside haunts of bookmakers and the shadowy redoubts of Southern politicians—these are the places that A. J. Liebling shows us in his unforgettable New Yorker articles, brought together here so that a new generation of readers might discover him for the first time.
Born a hundred years ago, Abbott Joseph "Joe" Liebling was one of the greatest of all New Yorker writers, a colorful figure who helped set the magazine's urbane tone and style. Today he is best known as a celebrant of the "sweet science" of boxing, and as a "feeder" who ravishes the reader with his descriptions of food and wine. But as David Remnick observes in his fond and insightful introduction, Liebling "is boundlessly curious, a listener, a boulevardier, a man of appetites and sympathy"—and a writer who, with his great friend and colleague Joseph Mitchell, deftly traversed the boundaries between reporting and storytelling, between news and art. Whatever his role, Liebling is a most companionable figure, and to read the pieces in this grand and generous book is to be swept along on a thrilling adventure in a world of rogues, press barons, and political cronies, with an inimitable writer as one's guide.