A. J. Liebling was an urbane and prolific journalist whose style, incorporating first-person narrative, street talk, and exuberant metaphor, became a model for the New Journalism of the 1960's and later. Although he came from a genteel New York family, he was fascinated by the irreverent underworld all his life and made it his special subject. After being expelled from Dartmouth College for refusing to attend chapel, Liebling graduated from Columbia University's Pulitzer School of Journalism in 1925 and then worked for various newspapers, including The New York Times, which fired him, and the New York World, before he found his metier at The New Yorker magazine in 1935. It was there that he developed his signature style and did his best work, writing about a wide range of subjects, from the city's characters to gastronomy to boxing to the London Blitz and the Normandy invasion. A born raconteur with a fertile imagination, Liebling carved out a territory between objective reporting and fiction, which so many other journalists have mined since. Yet he could also produce straight war reportage fine enough to merit receiving the Legion of Honor from a grateful France in 1952. Starting in 1945, Liebling wrote a widely admired column for The New Yorker called "The Wayward Pressman," in which he criticized American journalism's priorities and performance. This was probably the first such column in U.S. journalism. During the 1950s and 1960s, he also wrote book reviews for Esquire. Besides his massive newspaper and magazine output, Liebling wrote about 20 books. He was married three times, the last time to the writer Jean Stafford.
James Salter is the author of the novels Solo Faces,Light Years, A Sport and a Pastime, The Arm of Flesh (revised as Cassada), and The Hunters; the memoirs Gods of Tinand Burning the Days; and two collections of short stories, Dusk and Other Stories(which won the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award), and Last Night. He lives in Colorado and on Long Island.