While every sport has a library you can turn to for technique, history, rules, recommended gear, and any other number of things, there are few books that capture the essence of what a sport is about. Not the nuts and bolts, but the sort of inside dope, whether fiction or non-, that the outside world could never understand but that those devoted few, whether in the grip of competition or mere nostalgia, cling to like sport-specific bibles. These are our picks for the 11 best.
Cult Sport Books: Boxing
by W.C. Heinz
The author of this book received two congratulatory notes upon its publication in 1958: one from Elmore Leonard and the other from Ernest Hemingway, who called it "the only good novel I've ever read about a fighter." The plot is about the month of rigorous training that middleweight Eddie Brown endures before his first, last, and best chance at world-title glory. Style-wise, the book owes much to Papa – though it deserves its own championship belt.