Read Just Enough Liebling: Classic Work by the Legendary New Yorker Writer by A.J. Liebling David Remnick Online


Abbott Joseph Liebling was one of the greatest of all New Yorker writers, a colorful figure who helped set the magazine's urbane tone and style. Just Enough Liebling gathers in one volume the vividest and most enjoyable of his pieces. Charles McGrath (in The New York Times Book Review) praised it as "a judicious sampling-a useful window on Liebling's vast body of writing aAbbott Joseph Liebling was one of the greatest of all New Yorker writers, a colorful figure who helped set the magazine's urbane tone and style. Just Enough Liebling gathers in one volume the vividest and most enjoyable of his pieces. Charles McGrath (in The New York Times Book Review) praised it as "a judicious sampling-a useful window on Liebling's vast body of writing and a reminder, to those lucky enough to have read him the first time around, of why he was so beloved." Today Liebling 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....

Title : Just Enough Liebling: Classic Work by the Legendary New Yorker Writer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780865477278
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 534 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Just Enough Liebling: Classic Work by the Legendary New Yorker Writer Reviews

  • Rick
    2019-03-04 12:19

    The dust jacket photo shows a middle-aged man, wide-shouldered with an avalanche of weight falling downward below the frame. He is bald, jowly, wearing round wire-rimmed glasses. He looks directly at the camera, his head turned slightly from a three-quarter angle to do so, a pen gripped like a thin bone in his mouth. Lillian Ross, a New Yorker colleague, took the photo. It’s exceptional. He looks wary, though pretend wary, serious but with a twinkle of self-mockery. He looks like what he was, a 20th century journalist from beyond the era of “The Front Page,” that is, sharp, open-eyed and eared, skeptical, perhaps very skeptical, but not knee-jerk cynical. “Cynicism,” he once observed, “is the shame-faced product of inexperience.” The anthology includes essays and book excerpts published from the late 1930s through the early 1960s and cover topics from food to politics to boxing and horseracing to the press. Because of the times he was also a war correspondent, of the one-war variety as he modestly qualified his experience, by circumstance not profession. He is at his best where his gifts as a stylist, wry observer, and serious reporter most come together. His essays on the Press, particularly those that discuss the obituary coverage of General Patton and Theodore Dreiser, the reporting on Joe Stalin’s final illness and demise, and the editorial skills of Harold Ross are masterpieces of journalism. His war correspondence is sharp and intriguing and any tendency toward the glib is self-directed in its mockery. In some of the longer pieces he plows a rut rather than a furrow. His affection for Colonel Stingo, a combination journalist and con-man, comes across in “The Honest Rainmaker” but it goes on and on and displays a readiness, as does some of his other writing on topics where myth might be more entertaining than fact, to make things up. In a way, it’s not serious journalism, but feature writing. It’s meant more to entertain than inform so the colorful detail, the dramatic or comic anecdote, the perfect bit of dialogue might just well be a bit of manufactured myth as discovered fact. His boxing writing is among his most famous work and the essays here are strong, stronger when they lean to reporting (his coverage of a Sugar Ray Robinson bout and an early fight by one Cassius Clay) than when they are more a feature such as “The University of Eighth Avenue,” where there is too much Boxiana erudition (a little is brilliant, too much is any amount over a little) and myth-making and legend-strewing on display. The writing is always impressive, however. He describes a fighter who is so hairy that when he’s knocked down he looks like a rug. In reference to William Randolph Hearst, in what may be the book’s best essay, he notes that the secret to losing 21 million dollars is not genius but having 21 million dollars. Liebling was greatly admired among his peers and rightly so. He is among the giants of the century, though as a sportswriter I prefer Red Smith and as a political-social journalist Murray Kempton takes the prize in my book. My guess is that few wrote so well about food or the press and only the very best wrote better about boxing or New York City or politics.

  • M. D.Hudson
    2019-03-03 15:09

    A. J. Liebling is one of those iconic tiny mummies from the New Yorker that everybody should read, so I’ve been told. Another $0.25 purchase at the Allen County Public Library discount shelf and I made my debut with “Just Enough Liebling.” Now that I am almost through the fat thing, I have to say I had a good time. Liebling is a smart, ironic, quick-witted and absolutely sure-footed writer. Just what you want from a New Yorker writer. But he has definite limitations. He kind of covers the same territory as Joseph Mitchell does, but with considerably less empathy and depth. He’s not as funny as Thurber. On the other hand he’s not nearly as boring as E. B. White. And there were some surprises…The book starts out with an introduction by David Remnick doing the "New Yorker" hagiographical thing New Yorker writers always do for each other, generation after generation. Strangely, Remnick quotes mostly from the beginning of the book, which led me to believe he hadn’t read the whole thing. Maybe I’m wrong. Liebling’s death was sad and Nietzschean - he seems to have had a kind of empathy crisis towards the end, and makes the introduction worth reading.First comes the food. I really don’t care about food, and this is the mid-century French food (and wine, of course) of the sorts Cyril Connolly spends so much time on in his work. Restaurant anecdotes can be amusing, and Liebling tells stories pretty well. Yes, it is not just about the food, say the foodies. I just don’t care very much. Next comes his war reporting, and I must say, I think Liebling is my favorite World War II correspondant. He lacks Hemingway’s bloviating and bombast, and Ernie Pyle's melancholy sentimentalism. He was such an unlikely guy for this sort of thing, but he reported from tents and holes and from the back of jeeps. Because of his Francophilia, he tended to cover Anglo-French parts of the war, which is very interesting if only because the French sometimes shot with us and sometimes at us. Tunisia and the liberation of Paris are included here, but he also does follow-up work on a dead GI called “Mollie” who was a NYC character. Liebling isn’t as gentle as Joe Mitchell or Ernie Pyle, but I have to say it is one of the best bit of war reporting I’ve ever encountered. They should’ve made me read this in journalism school instead of all that awful Walter Lippmann. City Life is where the Joseph Mitchell comparison come in handy. “The Jollity Building” is full of NYC “characters” on the lowest depths of the entertainment-swindle business. Liebling has a lot of fun with these desperately hustling losers, but Joe Mitchell would’ve winkled out a bit more sympathy. “The Honest Rainmaker” is a lot like Mitchell’s “Joe Gould’s Secret” - they are both concerned with an endlessly babbling older man who is probably schizophrenic to some extent and they are both unreadable. Boxiana is about boxing, which interests me slightly more than food, but only slightly. Liebling makes it palatable, though and I found myself happily chugging along. His account of Cassius Clay’s first professional showing is interesting (Liebling pretty much recognized a champ when he sees one, although he was rooting for the other guy, Sonny Banks). ***I'll have to leave it at that. I found this uncompleted in my files and cannot recall what, if any, of the other sections are. But try it, you'll like it.

  • Gnarly Authenticity .
    2019-03-02 08:03

    In Leibling's world, an Underwood is always "battered" and a Jewish tailor is invariably "little". He deals in stereotypes; and does so very well. Like Joseph Mitchell, he's prone to obviously fabricated expository dialogue. Like Mitchell, he's also fascinated with gluttony. Lists of dishes and heroic feats of trenchermanship are a recurring theme in both authors--seafood for Mitchell and French cooking for Leibling.In the background of his tales of petty promoters, prizefighters and charming alcoholic operators is the desperation and loneliness of the American city of the Depression era--a period with one foot still in the root-hog-or-die ethic of the Gilded Age, when "going under" really meant going under and there was no Social Security or SSI or Medicaid for elderly drunks. When one envisions "dying alone in a cheap hotel", this is the exact era that comes to the mind's eye. His finest character, the WC Fieldsian/Mark Twainian con-man Col. John Stingo aka "The Honest Rainmaker", derives a certain nobility from his cheerful acceptance of a life lived one slip away from the Skid Row gutters. In his drunken optimism, his perpetual blarney, his creativity ,his stoicism, his recklessness and his love of the hustle we see the American personality of the ages in the round.

  • Bob
    2019-02-24 09:32

    This guy could tell a story. I mean REALLY tell a story. I enjoyed this book much more than I anticipated. The section entitled "The War and After" was my favorite, but every essay or excerpt had its interesting moments. Give the book a chance. Digest it in bits. Don't be afraid to let it sit unread for days at a time. Liebling's style could be rotund (the pieces on French food were a little much for me), and his allusions sometimes seem hopelessly obscure viewed from sixty-or-more years away (the book would have benefited from an editor armed with appropriate footnotes), but on the whole this collection stands straight and tall--a fitting testimony to a great writer who deserves remembrance.

  • David
    2019-03-25 08:27

    Just finished Thurber's "The Years With Ross" and a re-read of Brendan Gill's "New Yorker" book and decided to dip into this.Many articles spanning a long period (ending early 1960s). Sections on food, Paris, boxing, many nice pieces of his war correspondence (my favorite parts), three funny articles on Earl Long, several articles on Col. John R. Stingo (a Broadway character who amused Liebling), a nice reflection on Harold Ross, etc. Colorful language and figures of speech and droll insight on foibles and folly. Libeling clearly a character of his times: boxing and horse racing are much more important than they are now, which works for me, but some may not appreciate those elements.

  • Claudia
    2019-02-24 12:29

    Great reading mostly. Gets a little tiresome if read cover to cover...better to dip into.

  • Matt McCormick
    2019-03-25 14:24

    Contemporary accounts of North Africa in WW II, Mohamed Ali's first professional fight coupled with an introduction to gastronomy and soft money. All done with wit and wisdom. A reminder of a time when writing could tell life's story

  • GT
    2019-03-21 10:22

    I can't remember how I came across this book, but like many others I own, I was probably browsing in the discount books section somewhere and this book, and author, intrigued me enough to lay out $5 or so. Subsequently it went up on my shelf and I didn't read it. When I'd see it there I'd look at it, leaf through it, put it back on my shelf and think, maybe someday...Apparently that day came shortly after Christmas 2013...At first I wasn't sure what I was in for. Several chapters on eating in nice French restaurants back 60 - 80 years ago. Call me unsophisticated, but more than a paragraph or two on that and I'm losing interest. However, it was well-written and I was actually learning a bit, and recognizing some humor.Suffice to say, once the 'At Table In Paris' section was over, the rest of the book held topics I love. Lots on WWII, boxing, life in NYC, strange characters (where strange means extremely interesting), politics, and newspapers.I enjoyed almost every story, but the highlights for me were: 'Quest For Mollie', 'The Jollity Building', 'Poet And Pedagogue' (concerning Cassius Clay's first professional fight), and 'The Man Who Changed The Rules' (the man being The Chief - William Randolph Hearst).Shouldn't have left this one on the shelf so long - 4 Stars★ = Horrid waste of time★★ = May be enjoyable to some, but not me★★★ = I am glad I read it★★★★ = Very enjoyable and something I'd recommend★★★★★ = A rare find, simply incredible

  • Pat Falkner
    2019-03-11 10:21

    A classic New Yorker writing about the funner parts of World War II, boxing, and Earl Long, among other subjects. The boxer that Cassius Clay boxed in his first New York fight, before he was Muhammad Ali, was from Tupelo, MS. Earl Long was governor of Louisiana, Huey's brother. Read about the racist way he helped black people get ahead in the 50's. Liebling quotes Long reporting about how mistakes have consequences: "My uncle got drunk and pulled a man out of bed and got in bed with the man's wife, and the man got mad and shot my poor uncle and he died."

  • Brian Grover
    2019-02-23 12:17

    This book was a wedding present from my buddy RG, who loves these old New York writers. I like Liebling more than I like Joe Mitchell - he's funny, which helps with a lot of this material, which can run pretty dry (sadly, the stories about 1950s New York are the worst in this collection).Really enjoyed his WWII pieces, as well as the stuff about Huey and Earl Long, but the whole book is full of entertaining dispatches. I'd never heard of Liebling before getting this book, it was a good gift!

  • Ramesh Prabhu
    2019-02-27 14:23

    A.J. Liebling is hailed as the first of the great New Yorker writers, a "colourful and tireless figure who helped set the magazine's urbane style".It was in April 2010 that I finished reading Just Enough Liebling, an anthology of his articles from the New Yorker. Read these excerpts and you will get an insight into the ingredients of great writing: (The Reading Room)

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-09 09:33

    Excellent collection of one of the old "New Yorker" writers before the content of the magazine became so liberally smarmy and twee. Especially good is his experience aboard a Norwegian Tanker in WWII just as the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred. In lighter moments he does a humorous take on a collection of petty grifters operating out of a building in NYC.

  • Edy
    2019-03-15 16:21

    "I have known out-of-towners on newspapers whose primary urge toward journalism had been a consuming desire to escape from Iowa." (p 414) He's a great writer, but a lot of the topics didn't really interest me. To echo a previous (albeit facetious) reviewer, "more than enough Liebling" for me.

  • Martha
    2019-02-23 14:23

    Great war reporting and comments about food. If interested in boxing. I recommend this book. Also great descriptions of Huey Long and brother and Louisiana at that time...which I understand is little changed today, so could be helpful in understanding that strange land.

  • Tracy
    2019-03-14 13:09

    I just love this guy. I read this on the Kindle but wish I'd bought the real thing for easy access to my favorite essays. Look, when someone makes his voyage from England to the US in 1939 on a tanker really interesting, take note.

  • Teddy
    2019-03-25 11:06

    A.J. Liebling writes about food, boxing, WWII, con men, and food. It's awesome. The obits for Hearst and Theodore Dreiser are awesome too.

  • Ted
    2019-03-09 16:23

    Fantastic work from a paradigm of the New Yorker style, a style that I would gladly make out with.

  • Ryan Williams
    2019-02-24 11:11

    WW2, food, Harold Ross, boxing, conmen and more from one of the great reporters. On par with his justly celebrated (if unjustly more celebrated) contemporary, Joseph Mitchell.

  • Bill Perkins
    2019-03-18 09:09

    Liebling is brilliant.

  • Malcolm Moore
    2019-03-22 12:31

    The food writing from Paris, and the piece on the Jollity building in New York, are the best writing I've ever read. Total delight.

  • Sylvia
    2019-03-08 15:23

    dude was a glutton. but boy, he wrote about it in a way that made me want to be a glutton.

  • Jonathan
    2019-03-21 15:15

    A little more than enough Liebling.(Actually I really like most of this stuff.)