W.C. Heinz
The Professional
March 09, 2020 Comments.. 969
The Professional Originally published in The Professional is the story of boxer Eddie Brown s quest for the middleweight championship of the world But it is so much W C Heinz not only serves up a realistic depic

  • Title: The Professional
  • Author: W.C. Heinz
  • ISBN: 9780306810589
  • Page: 412
  • Format: Paperback
  • Originally published in 1958, The Professional is the story of boxer Eddie Brown s quest for the middleweight championship of the world But it is so much W C Heinz not only serves up a realistic depiction of the circus like atmosphere around boxing with its assorted hangers on, crooked promoters, and jaded journalists, but he gives us two memorable characters in EOriginally published in 1958, The Professional is the story of boxer Eddie Brown s quest for the middleweight championship of the world But it is so much W C Heinz not only serves up a realistic depiction of the circus like atmosphere around boxing with its assorted hangers on, crooked promoters, and jaded journalists, but he gives us two memorable characters in Eddie Brown and in Brown s crusty trainer, Doc Carroll They are at the heart of this poignant story as they bond together with their eye on the only prize that matters the middleweight championship The Professional is W C Heinz at the top of his game the writer who covered the fights better than anyone else of his era, whose lean sentences, rough and ready dialogue, dry wit, and you are there style helped lay the foundation for the New Journalism of Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese, and Tom Wolfe And all the trademark qualities of W C Heinz are on ample display in this novel that Pete Hamill described as one of the five best sports novels ever written.

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      Published :2020-03-09T06:45:55+00:00

    1 Blog on “The Professional

    1. Howard says:

      Some of the best writing that I have ever had the pleasure of reading was about the subject of sports. However, practically all of it is nonfiction. Writing fiction about sports must be difficult for writers, since there is so little of it that can be classified as great. The same goes for sports movies, although there seems to have been an improvement in that area in recent years.There are exceptions, of course. For example, there is the series of novels that Mark Harris wrote about Henry Wigge [...]

    2. Jon says:

      The Professional always ends up on lists of the best sports books ever written and both Elmore Leonard and Ernest Hemingway were fans of the book. Unlike a few “classics” that I’ve read, this book actually merits it’s reputation. The author, W. C. Heinz, was an American sportswriter and he knew and loved his subject matter, he also wrote an engrossing novel that even a non-boxing fan can enjoy.The book’s plot is deceptively simple. In the novel, sportswriter Frank Hughes spends a month [...]

    3. Joseph Bruno says:

      Being a boxing writer myself for many years, I can now totally appreciate it when people told me for years that “The Professional” by W.C. Heinz was the best boxing book ever written and one of the greatest novels of all time. There's even an introduction by iconic Elmore Leonard, where he credits Heinz as being one of his mentors. The book, written in 1958, is basically the life in the training camp of a fighter named Eddie Brown, who after a long boxing career, is finally getting a shot at [...]

    4. Paul says:

      A few weeks ago I read an obituary in the NYTimes for W.C. Heinz, an author. I'd never heard of him. He was a sportswriter for a NYC daily, and during WW II was a war correspondent. For some reason, I resonated to the guy's life and attitude toward living. NYTimes obits are good at conveying the person and not merely the dry fact about his or her life. In addition to war writing and sports coverage, Heinz wrote three novels and was a "with" writer of an autobiography. The autobio was "Run for Da [...]

    5. Lostinanovel says:

      Not so much of a boxing aficionado, but I enjoyed this book. Yes, the ending is sad but it has to be because this isn't a book about a boxer, its a book about the deterioration of our culture. Brilliantly, Heinz uses the ugly sport of boxing to make his point. Doc’s insights on the sad changes happening to American culture as a result of television were eye opening. For example, he is talking with a cab driver who asks his opinion of a tv boxing announcer. Doc is taken aback. He has never met [...]

    6. Richard says:

      Echoing an reviewer: don't read the forward until you've read the book. Though it's good and informative, it's too informative. Elmore Leonard gives the ending away. Cheeze!Five stars, according to , means, "It was amazing," and amazing it was on a number of levels. It's a look at life in a championship bout training camp, every character is complete, even those for whom we only get sketches, and the three leads (Eddie - the contender with 9 years in the ring, 90 fights and 87 wins; Doc - his t [...]

    7. Brian Tucker says:

      Great passages from an overlooked book about boxing:I think that if he had worn a burlap sack he would have looked good in it, but perhaps that is merely the way Eddie seemed to me. I mean that the perfect proportions of that body and the skills trained into it would still, in my mind's eye, have been there behind anything, the way the art of one or two great writers I have worshiped has made even what were called their bad books seem, to me, for that same reason, good. He was Doc's fighter. It [...]

    8. S.W. Gordon says:

      This is pure minimalist writing in the true Hemingway tradition complete with the Hemingway Bro Code and grace under fire. I really enjoyed this book right up until the last couple of incomprehensible pages. I assume the narrator was implying that Eddie Brown had sunk back down into the anonymous mass of nameless men who had failed to achieve the greatness that they were more than capable and deserving of achieving. But why would the elevator operator think that Smith, Jones or Brown were "odd" [...]

    9. Dr Zorlak says:

      After a ruinous right hand to the face, Eddie Brown stands before the press:"Got to go.""Go. Go where? Go where, Eddie?""Go? Go to the Garden. Fight.""You have to go to the Garden, Eddie? Where are you now?""Time," Eddie said."Time? What time?""Time," Eddie said, and then he pointed, staring. He pointed over the heads of the kneeling and the standing. He pointed with his right arm, his hand wavering a little. As he did we all turned in the hot, silent room, and looked where he was pointing, high [...]

    10. Aaron Burch says:

      I first read this in June 2011. I think, at the time, I was reading both a lot of boxing writing and a lot of Elmore Leonard, who wrote the Intro for this edition.Upon rereading for my "The Sport of Fiction," I loved it just as much this go-round. It's super tight and clean prose -- you can tell he was influenced by Hemingway, and then Elmore Leonard feels a bit like the natural continuation of that thread. My students enjoyed it, I think. Were a little unsure what to do with the almost total la [...]

    11. Brayden says:

      I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would. It's a book about training boxers told from the point of view of a sportswriter. Heinz would know a lot about this since he was a sportswriter covering the boxing beat. The best parts of the novel include the detailed accounts of the work that goes into training, the gruel of the daily life of a boxer. It had some great moments that will stick with you. The writing is precise and lean. But in the same way that I've never been a huge fan of He [...]

    12. Peter says:

      Heinz is a contemporary of Nelson Algren's (both were highly regarded by Hemingway), and this book's themes are vaguely reminiscent of Algren: a boxer pulls himself out of society's lower class, gets a title shot and loses everything on one tiny, impulsive mistake. The narrative portions of this novel are extremely well-written, but ultimately the book bogs down from unnecessary or misplaced dialogue.

    13. Karson says:

      Old school boxing is my new thing. I did some research and found this bad boy. A novel about a Bronx fighter in the 50's or 60's. I think there is so much potential in the subject matter for vivid settings and interesting characters and I just don't think this book delivered at all. It made me wish that the material found its way into the hands of a seasoned novelist.

    14. Mitch smith says:

      What a fantastic book that puts so many things in life in perspective from the eyes of Eddie's trainer breaking down characters into amateurs and professionals based on how they lived their lives, respected themselves and their professions.

    15. Colin says:

      Plucked this one from a historic list of great books - and I'm glad I did. The writing is crisp, relying on dialogue to shape the characters lending them more heft. I found myself in the room and hearing them talk, joke, strive and dream. Well done - an introduction to the world of boxing as well.

    16. Richard Stroud says:

      Slow build to a great finishWell, you can see why Hemingway liked this so much, seeing as how his influence is all over it. This book moves slowly through the training camp section, but the final third is all aching beauty. A great book.

    17. Scott says:

      Just a fantastic piece of fiction from one of the great sportswriters of the 20th century. The staccato dialogue, the perfect characters, the ode to Hemingway's style. I absolutely loved this book.

    18. Randy Suarez says:

      Fuck Tom White

    19. Joseph Hirsch says:

      I have yet to find a great piece of fiction about boxing. Non-fiction masterworks abound (see A.J. Liebling, Joyce Carol Oates, etc. for examples). After reading "Fat City" and being underwhelmed, I came to this second boxing canonized classic, and found it also wanting.This is an interesting artifact of the 15-rounder days, and it's obvious that the author knows his lore and the psychology of boxing, but, to be frank, there just isn't much boxing in the book. There's a lot of talking ( about fo [...]

    20. Lovett.nicholas says:

      One of the best sports books I've ever read, and the only one since childhood Matt Christopher books that was fiction.The book follows Eddie, the contender, and Doc, his trainer through training camp en route to the Middleweight Championship fight in Madison Square Garden. The third character, Frank Hughes is a journalist from Esquire who is writing an article on the training camp and subsequent fight. The book is primarily about Eddie and Doc, the journalist is an observer who is largely remove [...]

    21. RØB says:

      I don't remember exactly where I got this book. I have had it for some years--maybe it was snagged from the shelves of Bill Macabe's collection, or maybe it was in the basement (or sidewalk?) of The Book House, or maybe I came upon it some other way. I am pretty sure I picked it up because of the Ernest Hemingway quote on the cover, which claims that it's the best boxing novel he ever read, or something like that. It is pretty cool how it goes into detail of the remote training "camp" attended b [...]

    22. Joe Levi says:

      This is The Best Book that was ever written!This book muscles you inside a tough training camp with 29 year-old professional boxer and his 1-shot at the title. There are no shot-cuts there, and the author has a famous sports writer on camp to verify that. Also on camp is this fighter's team of manager and one Johnny and a "mob" of "friends" and/or other boxers/trainers/friends there to help make this guy ready for the fight. And everybody there makes you believe this guy is going to "lick" the c [...]

    23. Mike Quinn says:

      In entertainments media, boxing is usually presented with larger than life characters performing extraordinary feats of athleticism and courage against the longest of odds. The protagonist, typically an underdog who has to overcome obstacles such as difficulties in his private life, a derailed career path, or lack of talent/luck (These hurdles are often overcome through a montage, which is typically awesome).In any event, the characters and the boxing itself is portrayed as climactic, explosive, [...]

    24. Arvinder S. says:

      +The “straight to the gut” to the gut prose did a great job of making me feel like I was a part of the action, so much so that I felt all the emotions of the camp as various events unfolded. +The theme of TV muddling with a honest sport was great to read about but what was far more interesting was the theme of bias. Everyone who thought Eddie was good was friends with him, we never got to hear from outsider’s who were swayed into thinking Eddie was good simply by watching him fight. The na [...]

    25. Mark says:

      What a masterful story about hard work, determination, and LOSS. Throughout the book we are shown a man and his training team and see evidence of him at his best. He's determined, strong, powerful, humble. Unknowingly you begin to root for him, you begin to admire him. And once we finally get to the fight the ending hits you emotionally as hard as the one that brings him down.I was dragging my feet for a few days whenever I remembered the finale of this book.And that's why I gave it 5 stars. Thi [...]

    26. James says:

      Everyone goes on about this being the best boxing story written and they might be right. I would submit Rope Burns: Stories From The Corner by F.X. Toole as being a contender,though, although it's hard to compare a novel with a series of boxing tales. Also, while The Professional happens to be about boxing, character development is the main event here and, while important, the actual bout comes off almost as an afterthought. In Rope Burns, the bout is the point and everything else is subordinate [...]

    27. Mike says:

      Surprisingly realistic, about the boxing business and training, and the relationship between boxers and their managers.Notes:Came to this from Leigh Montville's March 2015 WSJ review of "The Top Of His Game", a collection of Heinz's sports stories.41 boxer would eat garlic before a fight [Carnera cartoon]47 running together61 I didn't want that plastering (struggling) like my old man88 typewriters and telegraphs89 I saw enough people for one night101 tap out (boxing too)leather cups outside tigh [...]

    28. Jeremiah says:

      This is the story of Eddie Brown, the consummate boxer preparing for a shot at the middleweight title. It is told by embedded reporter Frank Hughes. The fact that professionals Ernest Hemingway and Elmore Leonard saw greatness in a book I found completely ordinary, a book about the unseen and unappreciated great boxer, is one of the most meta experiences I have had as a reader. Taking Leonard's condescending introduction, which I read after finishing the book, as a crucial piece of the story its [...]

    29. Ken Oder says:

      This story follows a challenger for the middle-weight boxing title and his manager from the beginning of training camp through the fight, back when professional boxing was still one of the most popular sports in the country. It lays out the background of a fictional great boxer, a manager who teaches fighting as an art form, and the fading glory of the fight game. Ernest Hemingway considered it the best novel about boxing written up to that time. Elmore Leonard was greatly influenced by the book [...]

    30. Audrey says:

      I bought this book about prize fighting for my adult son, who is taking wrestling and MMA classes. And, because I like to talk to him about books, I read it myself. What an utterly beautiful and profound book! There's a very positive blurb by Ernest Hemingway on the cover and the book is very much in that author's terse, punchy, immediate style. That is not to say that it lacks emotional depth. Like Hemingway, Heinz makes every scene and each word of dialogue count toward character development. [...]

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