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 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


10 thoughts on “The Professional

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J.ӺCpSg689 桚*KsS! &[;7kbno26gqV \RM4`Ih<ҹú^b'@^gmsUkO&nOu9PJΙT+M*N{"A%04P9 70wMLyۗ)9NpqJyUkZ˷|۰&!^% =rTh 0Vބ9wCY1c c9{վ{8u K8}Ng{<-U9a~ j*J^PsRfx7|S>+x>_\ K㎱ZS 0%b=gy&2M, }hJap,cnND. <ZaY25Gi7pn6^V-JedKëq:5iɕkYyr[KW$O$5鱠} jРlx*x4?Κ ʆU)%[WMgx0?+62Thh'1j.`y;87ێ'? ҙI(Bjl191$ud>ƆH0ķ;%RyMJ^ugLEY'扁u\H:o}x"Ok/+o@+ d[bglCp8Ǖ<þg-`Xw~cT֋m<\Np2^zP{[[0?:\M]x#=e+,/uφyфztQHlc~EOMzlVΈ)\i`jYJs݅NJڳp+0D DD@EHG 8s"=]xz?*D8Dj4TC* o4 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 yearsThere are exceptions of course For example there is the series of novels that Mark Harris wrote about Henry Wiggen a major league pitcher who threw left handed and thought outside the box The best of these which was also successfully adapted for the screen was Bang the Drum SlowlyWhen I look at my virtual bookshelf I see that I have spent much time reading books fictional and nonfictional about baseball than any other sport basketball and football to a lesser degree and practically none on the subjects of horse racing and boxing In fact I don't even have a shelf for boxing and though I have one for horses there isn't a specific one for horse racing There are only five books on that shelf and just two of them deal with the sport one fiction and one nonfiction The latter is Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit An American LegendWC Heinz 1915 2008 wrote about many sports but is best known as being the best sports journalist of his generation writing about horse racing and boxing Already a notable sports columnist in 1958 he published his first book The Professional a novel about boxingAll great books about sports fiction and nonfiction are always about than sports which is certainly true of both Bang the Drum Slowly and Seabiscuit It is also true of The Professional the story of boxer Eddie Brown and his quest to become the middleweight boxing champion It is also the story of his manager and trainer Doc Carroll who has as much invested in the effort as his fighter Writing is like building a stone wall without mortar You place words one at a time fit them take them apart and refit them until they're balanced and solid WC Heinz Heinz was very much an advocate of showing and not telling He worked hard to keep from imposing himself between the characters and the reader Therefore there are long stretches of authentic sounding dialogue that advances the plot without resorting to any intervention on the part of the narratorWriting in the LA Times John Schulian called it a flinty eyed yet profoundly compassionate storyThe ending is so sad that Heinz had to spend a day walking the woods around his Vermont home to gather the courage to write itEl Leonard wrote in the introduction to my copy of the novel The way I remember it I read The Professional when it came out in January 1958 and for the first and only time in my life wrote to the author to tell him how much I liked the bookLeonard wasn't the only writer who liked it Ernest Hemingway wrote that it is the only good novel I've ever read about a fighter Pete Hamil wrote that it is one of the five best sports novels ever written According to Mike Lupica Heinz is not just one of the great sportswriters the country has produced he is one of the great American writers