The Sweet Science

Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
Categories: Sports, Other
4 out of 5 stars (67 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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: Sugar Ray Robinson's dramatic comeback, Rocky Marciano's rise to prominence, Joe Louis' 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.
©1951 the Estate of A.J. Liebling (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Nobody wrote about boxing with more grace and enthusiasm than Joe Liebling." (New York Times)
"In The Sweet Science, as in all his books, Liebling himself, the voice and the character, is immensely appealing." (New Yorker)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Liebling is a master wordsmith, Gardner an incredible narrator

The fighter did "not succeed in converting the Philadelphian into a horizontal, but he made him look like two sides of a triangle in search of a third."

No one writes this way anymore! AJ Liebling's analogies were the highlight of a book woven through the art of boxing, deftly narrated with an old tyme voice by Grover Gardner.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

All in the Subtleties...

Good lens into old times. Great to hear the depth of craftsmanship of boxing in this type of writing. Language is obviously dated. If you're a fan of boxing, I'd recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Gifted Writer Turns Boxing Into Ballet

Any additional comments?

I've listened to this book three times. I'm a boxing fan, of course, but Liebling is a gifted wordsmith. The prose he used to write the articles that make up this book is some of the best ever written in the English language. The narrator does an outstanding job too. I would not recommend this to someone who is not a boxing and/or sports fan though as much of it would not interest them. However, it is a must for the casual or devoted fan of the sweet science of bruising!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

You better love boxing.

a sports writer here in phoenix stated this was one of the top 10 sport books that he had ever read. based on his recommendation i read the book. the book is well written and gives a great history of the art of boxing and ring fighting. i don't think it is one of the top 10 sport books ever written but it is worth the time to read and get an in depth look at this sport.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 06-27-08

Too much on the fights, not enough on the fighters

Liebling writes amazing well, but I thought I would get more on the fighters, and less on the fights. The fight analysis is interesting, but I would take Kindred's book on Cosell and Ali over Liebling's sweet science. How much of that is because I experienced both Cosell and Ali growing up, while Liebling is covering fight history, I do not know.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent perspective on boxing during that era

As a recent convert to rabid boxing fan, I picked up this title. Liebling keeps the listener interested with his astute commentary on boxers from his era and the social factors that were influencing the sport. I looked for another of his books on audio and was disappointed not to find one. The narrator is excellent (and I consider myself picky about narrators).

1 person found this helpful