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by A.J. Liebling

Pub Date: May 1st, 1981
ISBN: 0872236439
Publisher: Playboy Press

The best thing to come out of Raymond Sokolov's fussy biography of A.J. Liebling, Wayward Reporter (1980), may be the republication, in one volume, of Francophile Liebling's four books of diverse encounters with the French--French generals being of no less "obsessional interest" to him than French restaurants. Briefly but serviceably introduced by Sokolov, they comprise the two books of wartime New Yorker dispatches--on "fighting, politics, and peasantry"--The Road Back to Paris and Mollie & Other War Pieces; Normandy Revisited (1958), which takes the middle-aged Liebling, in a chauffeured car, back to the scenes of his student days and his wartime engagements; and Between Meals (1962), subtitled "An Appetite for Paris" and a non pareil celebration of oysters and wine, chefs and proprietors--from childhood. The exuberance, the feeling for place and character, the attention to "rudimentary things"--and always the unexpected word, the edged phrase--continue to delight and astonish.