Just Enough Liebling
Classic Work by the Legendary New Yorker Writer
Publication Date: September 9, 2004
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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The restaurants of the Latin Quarter and the city rooms of midtown Manhattan; the beachhead 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 to us in his unforgettable New Yorker articles, brought together here so that a new generation of readers might discover Liebling as if for the first time.
Born a hundred years ago, Abbott Joseph "Joe" Liebling was the first of the great New Yorker writers, a colorful and tireless figure who helped set the magazine's urbane style. Today, he is best known as a celebrant of the "sweet science" of boxing or as a "feeder" who ravishes the reader with his descriptions of food and wine. But as David Remnick, a Liebling devotee, suggests in his fond and insightful introduction, Liebling was a writer bounded only by his intelligence, taste, and ardor for life. Like his nemesis William Randolph Hearst, he changed the rules of modern journalism, banishing the distinctions 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 confidence men, rogues, press barons and political cronies, with an inimitable writer as one's guide.
A. J. Liebling joined the staff of The New Yorker in 1935 and wrote for the magazine until his death in 1963. David Remnick is the editor of The New Yorker.
"The only thing wrong with this book is its title: No amount of Liebling is ever enough. He had a raptor's eye, a virtuoso's ear, and an enormous heart. He was wildly funny and frequently profound, and he may well have been the greatest American prose stylist of the twentieth century. " --Luc Sante, author of Low Life
"Liebling, it's now apparent, is not just one of the great American reporters but one of the great American writers, whose baroque sentences continue to twist and turn and soar to our delight and instruction , his high and hyperbolic comic constructions glinting in the light of his first-rate and empirical intelligence. There can never be enough Liebling around but "Just Enough Liebling" is a wonderful start, and a necessary purchase for anyone who cares about American style." --Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon
"All great city reporting begins in the general vicinity of the little desks that pack Liebling's Jollity Building, and, now that I've revisited all those airless offices and always-manned phonebooths yet again, it probably ends there too." --Robert Sullivan, author of Rats
"[Liebling] glorified gluttony not only by indulging in food in great amounts, but in consuming in great detail the events of his time, the high life, low life, people at peace and war, prizefighters in the ring and on the political stump. He was a chronicler, a critic, and a writer whose style influenced mid-20th century writers and continues to set an example worthy of admiring at the present time. In the late 1950s I had a job in The Times' sports dept., and what I most looked forward to seeing while attending big fights was the figure of Liebling at the ringside, squeezed into a folding chair, squinting through those thick glasses out through the cigar smoke and missing nothing." --Gay Talese