This unforgettable account of Muhammad Ali's rise and self-creation, told by a Pullitzer Prize-winning writer, places Ali in a heritage of great American originals. David Remnick concentrates on Ali's early career, when he was still fighting as Cassius Clay. The book begins in September 1962 with the fight between Floyd Patteson and Sonny Liston, ...
This unforgettable account of Muhammad Ali's rise and self-creation, told by a Pullitzer Prize-winning writer, places Ali in a heritage of great American originals. David Remnick concentrates on Ali's early career, when he was still fighting as Cassius Clay. The book begins in September 1962 with the fight between Floyd Patteson and Sonny Liston, providing a remarkable sociological backdrop to Ali's entrance on the boxing scene. Remnick then describes Clay's 1964 fight with Liston, which even his own people thought Clay couldn't win, and takes us through to 1967 when Ali refused the military draft to Vietnam. This is much more than a sports book. It is a study of the rise of the black voice in the American consciousness and a look at how the media creates its heroes - Cassius Clay began as a 'light-hitting loudmouth' before becoming gradually canonized by the American press and public as Muhammad Ali. KING OF THE WORLD takes us back to the days when his life was a series of battles, inside the ring and out. A master storyteller at the height of his powers, David Remnick has written a book worthy of America's most dynamic moden hero.
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Publishers Weekly, 1998-10-05 "I ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong," Ali said in 1967 on refusing to be drafted. He was sentenced to five years in prison, and though the Supreme Court would overturn his conviction four years later, principle lost him?temporarily?his title, big bucks, the support of many admirers and the best years of his fighting life. Vietnam postdates most of New Yorker editor Remnick's (Lenin's Tomb) coverage, as he writes little about Ali in the post-Sonny Liston era. At its best, the book recalls the boxing writings of A.J. Liebling, while Remnick's frequent use of Ali's hilarious "rapper" doggerel adds to the melancholy humor through which he describes the Louisville kid who beat gambling odds on the way to the heavyweight title but couldn't beat the medical odds. "The history of [prize] fighters," Remnick writes, "is the history of men who end up damaged." Only in his middle 50s, the once graceful Ali, last seen worldwide clutching the Atlanta Olympic torch in a trembling hand, is disabled by degenerative Parkinson's disease. To many, though, he was disabled even earlier by his conversion to Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam, which, whatever its controversial separatist image, "orders [Ali's] life and helps him cope with his illness," according to Remnick. The author smartly records Ali's defiant besting of adversaries in and out of the ring and shows him to be a champion human being. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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