However, I give my personal decision, because their work speaks to both insiders and outsiders, to two old favorites—the wry and economical A. J. Liebling, who was a skilled enough avocational boxer himself; and Gay Talese, who profiles a gloomy, reclusive Floyd Patterson after his defeat at the hands of Sonny Liston in 1963. Almost 50 years later, the piece still captivates.

The book contains a brief memorial by John Schulian for his co-editor, George Kimball, late of the Lion’s Head and other precincts, who died in 2011.


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James Boylan is CJR’s founding editor.