Ali
The definitive biography of an American icon, from a New York Times best-selling author with unique access to Ali’s inner circle He was the wittiest, the prettiest, the strongest, the bravest, and, of course, the greatest (as he told us himself). Muhammad Ali was one of the twentieth century’s most fantastic figures and arguably the most famous man on the planet. But until now, he has never been the subject of a complete, unauthorized biography. Jonathan Eig, hailed by Ken Burns as one of America’s master storytellers, radically reshapes our understanding of the complicated man who was Ali. Eig had access to all the key people in Ali’s life, including his three surviving wives and his managers. He conducted more than 500 interviews and uncovered thousands of pages of previously unreleased FBI and Justice Department files, as well dozens of hours of newly discovered audiotaped interviews from the 1960s. Collectively, they tell Ali’s story like never before—the story of a man who was flawed and uncertain and brave beyond belief. “I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me—black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.” He was born Cassius Clay in racially segregated Louisville, Kentucky, the son of a sign painter and a housekeeper. He went on to become a heavyweight boxer with a dazzling mix of power and speed, a warrior for racial pride, a comedian, a preacher, a poet, a draft resister, an actor, and a lover. Millions hated him when he changed his religion, changed his name, and refused to fight in the Vietnam War. He fought his way back, winning hearts, but at great cost. Like so many boxers, he stayed too long. Jonathan Eig’s Ali reveals Ali in the complexity he deserves, shedding important new light on his politics, religion, personal life, and neurological condition. Ali is a story about America, about race, about a brutal sport, and about a courageous man who shook up the world.  

Ali Details

TitleAli
Author
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139780544435247
Rating
GenreBiography, Sports and Games, Sports, Nonfiction

Ali Review

  • Lance
    January 1, 1970
    Not much needs to be said about the impact Muhammad Ali made on the sport of boxing, civil rights in the United States or the Muslim faith. There have been many books and articles written about the man on all of these topics and more. Now there is one source for inside information on Ali the man, Ali the boxer and Ali the spiritual figure – this outstanding biography written by Jonathan Eig.Covering Ali’s entire life, from the childhood of Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky to his death in 201 Not much needs to be said about the impact Muhammad Ali made on the sport of boxing, civil rights in the United States or the Muslim faith. There have been many books and articles written about the man on all of these topics and more. Now there is one source for inside information on Ali the man, Ali the boxer and Ali the spiritual figure – this outstanding biography written by Jonathan Eig.Covering Ali’s entire life, from the childhood of Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky to his death in 2016, Eig uncovers stories behind Ali’s transformation from being one of the most despised men in America (at least by white Americans) to one of the most beloved figures. Information on just about every aspect of Ali’s life – his association with the Nation of Islam, his training methods, his marriages and eventually the neurological issues that plagued him even before his boxing career ended – are all addressed in the masterful storytelling that has won Eig widespread praise.Nearly anything that has been said about Ali, even if just in mythological or legendary status, is mentioned in the book. Stories such as the one about a stolen bicycle leading to his interest in boxing, the real source for his famous quote about “no quarrel with the Viet Cong” and the atmosphere of his famous first fight with Joe Frazier in 1971 at Madison Square Garden are written in a flowing style that makes them, and the rest of the book, a joy to read.This is the case even with controversial or unpleasant topics. The reader will gain a better understanding of the importance of the Nation of Islam in Ali’s transition from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and the roles that Elijah Muhammad, his son Herbert and Malcom X played in that part of Ali’s life. Ali’s conviction on draft evasion, his subsequent association with Don King and his generosity with his money that led to financial problems. Through all of these, however, Eig never fails to remind readers that often Ali was simply being kind to everyone whom he would encounter.Ali’s boxing career is just as well chronicled as his life. Good coverage of nearly every fight in his career can be found in the book and the bigger fights such as the first and third fights against Frazier, his two knockouts of Sonny Liston and the “Rumble in the Jungle” against George Foreman have substantial pages written. While many of these fights have been covered in other books (some of which were references for Eig’s research as well as over 500 interviews), these accounts of those great matches will leave the reader reliving those fights or give some new information.Just like his biography on Lou Gehrig, Eig’s biography on “The Greatest” paints a comprehensive picture on a beloved icon in American sports in an enjoyable, entertaining book that readers will want to add to their libraries. One doesn’t have to be a boxing or sports fan to enjoy this, especially since Muhammad Ali transcended sports to become an iconic figure. It is a biography that comes close to that status in the world of books. I wish to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.http://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/201...
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  • Michael Fineberg
    January 1, 1970
    This book is extraordinary for how well it conveys so many different things about 20th Century life in the United States; boxing, coming of age, race, Islam, marriage (and divorce and infidelity), social action, aging, and finally, the power of charisma and bravery. The writing is crisp and engaging, the subject matter(s) is fascinating and the pages just fly by.I could say more, but read this book and then, let's talk.
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  • Styron Powers
    January 1, 1970
    This Muhammad Ali book is the “GOAT”, of Ali books! This was my eight book on Muhammad Ali. Ali, remains the ONLY athlete, I personally consider my hero. The other seven books, very well discuss his life as a boxer, just as the Will Smith, movie did. Jonathan Eig, painted the picture of the person. From his birth, the early racial prejudices faced. His decision making that made him once hated and later respected and loved. The author painted the good, bad, ugly and greatness of the man. If you a This Muhammad Ali book is the “GOAT”, of Ali books! This was my eight book on Muhammad Ali. Ali, remains the ONLY athlete, I personally consider my hero. The other seven books, very well discuss his life as a boxer, just as the Will Smith, movie did. Jonathan Eig, painted the picture of the person. From his birth, the early racial prejudices faced. His decision making that made him once hated and later respected and loved. The author painted the good, bad, ugly and greatness of the man. If you are an Ali, fan- READ THIS BOOK!
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  • Joel Berg
    January 1, 1970
    You can’t understand the U.S. in the 60’s and 70’s, unless you understand the role of Ali. And you can’t understand the role of Ali, unless you read this brilliantly written, immaculately-researched book. The book manages to be both action-packed and full of broad, important themes (race, how athletes get brutalized for money, etc. ) that prompt deep thought. Given the national debate today of the role of athletes in politics, this book is more needed than ever. And it’s is a heck of a lot of fu You can’t understand the U.S. in the 60’s and 70’s, unless you understand the role of Ali. And you can’t understand the role of Ali, unless you read this brilliantly written, immaculately-researched book. The book manages to be both action-packed and full of broad, important themes (race, how athletes get brutalized for money, etc. ) that prompt deep thought. Given the national debate today of the role of athletes in politics, this book is more needed than ever. And it’s is a heck of a lot of fun to read. Read it … now.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    Muhammad Ali was, by far, the greatest sports figure of the 20th century. His is a personality that no one will ever be able to "figure out" entirely. He was simultaneously thrilling, charming, disappointing, and malicious. But he was the greatest pugilist of all time(s), and his accomplishments speak for themselves.This biography by Jonathan Eig is a knockout punch. For sure, no other author has been able to capture Ali in so complete a way as Eig. The depth of the research is very impressive- Muhammad Ali was, by far, the greatest sports figure of the 20th century. His is a personality that no one will ever be able to "figure out" entirely. He was simultaneously thrilling, charming, disappointing, and malicious. But he was the greatest pugilist of all time(s), and his accomplishments speak for themselves.This biography by Jonathan Eig is a knockout punch. For sure, no other author has been able to capture Ali in so complete a way as Eig. The depth of the research is very impressive- the FBI files were a fascinating addition, and the interviews with Ali's entourage and family were obviously legion. Before reading, I listened to Eig's "Chasing Ali" podcast, and I knew this book was going to be awesome. I wasn't let down at all.It's obvious that Eig admires his subject very much, but he does not let that overtake the narrative. The book presents a very balanced picture of the champ, showing us all the wonderful things about him but not hesitating to expose the flaws in Ali's character. I saw how charitable Ali was and the concern he felt for his fellow man, but also how he said genuinely hurtful things to his opponents (especially Joe Frazier) and his callous treatment of his wives. The brave stand Ali took against the government during the Vietnam War is treated fairly, as is Ali's naivete in letting the Nation of Islam take advantage of him throughout his career.Perhaps most poignant of all is the statistics Eig presents concerning the blows Ali took to the head, and how that caused his slow decline into Parkinson's disease. I won't reveal the figures here, but they are truly terrifying. Early on in the book you can easily see the fast, slick Ali with a lightning jab, and as the book progresses, it becomes truly heartbreaking to read about the gradually-slowing Ali, until he unwisely stepped in the ring with Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick, at which point he could barely even raise his arms to protect himself. I feel that many of the questions concerning Ali's health later in his career were laid to rest in this book. The data is laid flat out, the verdicts of doctors and clinics scrutinized. I have very little to say negatively of this book, but I will note a few things here: - This is more of a personal dislike, but I didn't care for the amount of anaphora (something that bugs me). By this I mean paragraphs where multiple sentences begin with the same words, i.e. "He didn't care that.......He didn't care that......He didn't care that......" I acknowledge that this can be very effective when used right, but I tire of it after two or three instances.- I think the book could have used a further exploration of the relationship between Ali and Howard Cosell. This is an important part of Ali's life, because Cosell was one of the few prominent figures in white America to support Ali when he converted to Islam and resisted the draft. The two became like brothers, griping and making fun of each other, all in jest of course. They were friends for life, and represented the sort of camaraderie that Civil Rights had fought for.This book is, by far, the finest piece of literature yet written on Muhammad Ali, and I daresay the greatest boxing-related book of alllll tiiiiimes. My overall verdict is five stars, plus some. Bravo Mr. Eig!
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  • Perry
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent, in depth biography of the self-proclaimed greatest boxer. Oddly, Ali reminded me of Tom Cruise.
  • Kerry Pickens
    January 1, 1970
    I started reading this book, and could not put it down. The author captured the enthusiast nature of Ali's personality and rise to fame, as well as the turbulence of the Civil Rights movement.
  • Schuyler Wallace
    January 1, 1970
    Perhaps it’s not appropriate for a reviewer to thank a writer for grinding out a book that is an answer to a prayer. Without apology, thank you, Jonathan Eig, for letting me get my hands on a thorough study of an enigmatic character that was larger than life. Muhammed Ali was all things a great personality can ascribe to; joyous, relentless, comical, introspective, and mysterious. In “Ali,” Eig unwrapped a character that enthralled an entire world. Born as Cassius Clay to a housepainter and dome Perhaps it’s not appropriate for a reviewer to thank a writer for grinding out a book that is an answer to a prayer. Without apology, thank you, Jonathan Eig, for letting me get my hands on a thorough study of an enigmatic character that was larger than life. Muhammed Ali was all things a great personality can ascribe to; joyous, relentless, comical, introspective, and mysterious. In “Ali,” Eig unwrapped a character that enthralled an entire world. Born as Cassius Clay to a housepainter and domestic servant, in racially segregated Louisville, Kentucky, Muhammad Ali never strayed from his vision of being the best at fighting, at earning big money, at projecting a huge personality, and at capturing the entire world with his persona. His constant rant at being the prettiest, the mightiest, and champion of the world, while appearing to be the height of conceit, was cleverly aimed at building an image that fulfilled his own dream of attaining perfection. Although his talent as a fighter has been questioned, his fervent defense of social issues has never dimmed.In a sport not known for its subtlety, where the object is to beat another man senseless, Ali was a master at inflicting pain. He was not immune to absorbing the same punishment but he soaked up the suffering and disregarded it as an unwelcome burden to achieve what he wanted. His goals of money, fame, freedom of action, and a desire to educate the rest of mankind in his social vision of what people should ascribe to were undercut by his inability to avoid the temptation and perils of easy living that marred his righteous ambitions. But his unapologetic mindset never wavered.In the end he became both a hated entity and a revered champion of the people. I, for one, first despised his braggadocio and outlandish behavior, then later, forgetting the revulsion, attained a curious admiration for his uncompromising approach to his own life and the humor that seemed to mock his own psyche. He always adored children and elders. His professed dislike of whites was never fully propagated. He was generous to a fault; his wealth was always something he shared. His inability to say “no” to the countless hangers on that besieged him constantly for money or favors was a trait that always kept him on the verge of bankruptcy, a teetering edge he ignored.His infidelities and cruelty to his wives and their children has been widely discussed. Yes, he was weak in the ways of the flesh and had curious ways of justifying it. This failing had much to do with the shadow of disfavor that always hovered over him. It became a part of the puzzle that surrounded him throughout his life. Jonathan Eig has impressive writing credentials and is a research master. He conducted hundreds of interviews, studied thousands of writings, pored over numerous statistical reviews, and spent nearly five years preparing this probing biography that never criticizes nor praises. It is what it is and the reader is left to fill in any blanks that might exist, although I found very little to question. Thank you, again, sir. This book is fantastic.
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  • Brendan Crowley
    January 1, 1970
    An extremely enjoyable book that sits alongside the great Ali biographies by David Remnick and Thomas Hauser.I was a bit skeptical as to the need for a new bio of one of the words most written about men. However, Eig had supurb access to the remaining members of the Ali entourage as well as access to huge volumes of material. The new material, including FBI materials and analysis of the punches taken by Ali, make the book a welcome addition to the chronicles of Ali.The book is an honest and sear An extremely enjoyable book that sits alongside the great Ali biographies by David Remnick and Thomas Hauser.I was a bit skeptical as to the need for a new bio of one of the words most written about men. However, Eig had supurb access to the remaining members of the Ali entourage as well as access to huge volumes of material. The new material, including FBI materials and analysis of the punches taken by Ali, make the book a welcome addition to the chronicles of Ali.The book is an honest and searing account of Ali, his contradictions and his genius. It captures what he meant to his time and place and why his legacy is so enduring. A thoroughly enjoyable read and I highly recommend it as a one stop source in Ali's incredible life.I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • George Briggs
    January 1, 1970
    A Difference Maker!Long before Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest racial injustice, Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali marched to a different drummer to protest the Vietnam Conflict and the racial inequalities during the turbulent 1960's. Admire him or despise him, Ali was a game changer who challenged authority and transcended the world of boxing with his brashness and unique personality that inspired a generation. Jonathan Dig has written an extraordinary biography that is hard to stop reading A Difference Maker!Long before Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest racial injustice, Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali marched to a different drummer to protest the Vietnam Conflict and the racial inequalities during the turbulent 1960's. Admire him or despise him, Ali was a game changer who challenged authority and transcended the world of boxing with his brashness and unique personality that inspired a generation. Jonathan Dig has written an extraordinary biography that is hard to stop reading page after page. Nothing is omitted - highlights and shortcomings. This book is must reading not only for boxing fans, but also a window to one of the generation's most revered personages.
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  • Robert Sparrenberger
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best biographies I’ve ever read. It reads like a Greek tragedy with Ali’s fatal flaw being that he could never say no to anyone. His fans, women, promoters, the president, etc. The writing is excellent and the fight descriptions make you feel like you are ringside. I want to watch some of the fights now that I’ve read the inside scoop of what was happening and see if it matches what the author described. So many other people move in and out of his life that I knew the name but not the One of the best biographies I’ve ever read. It reads like a Greek tragedy with Ali’s fatal flaw being that he could never say no to anyone. His fans, women, promoters, the president, etc. The writing is excellent and the fight descriptions make you feel like you are ringside. I want to watch some of the fights now that I’ve read the inside scoop of what was happening and see if it matches what the author described. So many other people move in and out of his life that I knew the name but not the connection. Don King, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, etc. Ali Had so many things going on his life. Race, religion, the Vietnam war, his wives and multiple children and his success as a boxer make for an incredible life with tragedy and triumph. Highly recommend.
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  • robert dubuc
    January 1, 1970
    GREAT READ.
  • Lev Rothenberg
    January 1, 1970
    Written in a compelling manner. Researched in great detail. This book highlights a unique individual and shines a light on his times.
  • Douglas
    January 1, 1970
    The best non-fiction book I've read since Seabiscuit. Just a tremendous, delightful read. I know a ton about Ali—I met the man a number of times, wrote about him, produced and executive produced television shows and documentaries about Ali—so I wasn't expecting to find a whole lot in here that I didn't know. But there are some true gems in here.More importantly, it's Eig's storytelling abilities that are the reason to read this book. This is no hagiographic, Ali worshiping bio... it's an attempt The best non-fiction book I've read since Seabiscuit. Just a tremendous, delightful read. I know a ton about Ali—I met the man a number of times, wrote about him, produced and executive produced television shows and documentaries about Ali—so I wasn't expecting to find a whole lot in here that I didn't know. But there are some true gems in here.More importantly, it's Eig's storytelling abilities that are the reason to read this book. This is no hagiographic, Ali worshiping bio... it's an attempt to capture the fullness of the man. And it truly succeeds.Just click on this link https://goo.gl/MzLhJj and click on "Look Inside" to read the first pages of "Ali"—you will be hooked.The best non-fiction book I've read since Seabiscuit. Just a tremendous, delightful read.
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  • Jonathan
    January 1, 1970
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