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Extended Audio Sample The Sweet Science, by A. J. Liebling Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (265 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: A. J. Liebling Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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This collection of A. J. Liebling’s classic New Yorker pieces on the “sweet science of bruising” brings vividly to life the boxing world as it once was. It depicts the great events of boxing’s American heyday, including Sugar Ray Robinson’s dramatic comeback, Rocky Marciano’s rise to prominence, and Joe Louis’s unfortunate decline. Liebling never fails to find the human story behind the fight, and he evokes the atmosphere in the arena as distinctly as he does the goings-on in the ring—a combination that prompted Sports Illustrated to name The Sweet Science the best American sports book of all time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Nobody wrote about boxing with more grace and enthusiasm than Joe Liebling.”

    New York Times

  • “In The Sweet Science—in all his books—Liebling himself, the voice and the character, is immensely appealing.”

    New Yorker, editorial review

  • “Grover Gardner is the perfect narrator for this collection of Liebling’s New Yorker pieces about boxing, written in the '30s, '40s, and '50s…No one else has ever written so well about this sport. Gardner captures the voices of ‘know-it-all’ New York fight fans and the denizens of the Neutral Corner, a New York City bar owned, tended, and patronized by fighters and their retinue Gardner’s rendition of Tommy Farr, the Welsh heavyweight, alone is worth the purchase price. Those who love boxing, and even those who don’t, will enjoy the Liebling-Gardner team.”


  • “Liebling’s articles…present a personal and polished account of the square ring…Excellent reading and not only for the buffs.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Time Magazine Best Nonfiction Book of the Twentieth Century
  • #1 Book in Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 Sports Books of All Time

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ethan | 1/26/2014

    " The writing is beautiful and fun, the blow-by-blow suspenseful and transporting, but sadly, in this fleeting sport, it's impossible to care about obscure fights half a century old. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kurt | 1/10/2014

    " From back in the day when boxing was boss. Very well written, "I ate such and such, then went to the fight and such and such happened," but much prettier, of course. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Eric | 1/8/2014

    " Good, solid, artistic sports writing. Interesting and well crafted. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mike | 11/27/2013

    " Colonel Stingo, Mush Sallow, Chickie Ferrara, Whitey Bimstein, Tiny Payne, Philadelphia Jack O'Brien, Jimmy Tomato, Bertie Briscoe . . . This book is worth reading just for the names. "

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About the Author

A. J. Liebling (1904–1963), a graduate of the School of Journalism at Columbia University, joined the staff of the New Yorker in 1935. He served as a war correspondent during World War II, writing and filming stories from France, England and the African continent. Liebling is one of the few foreign nationals to have been awarded the Cross of the Légion d'honneur by the French government.