King of the World
Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero
By David Remnick
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780375702297, 352pp.)
Publication Date: October 1999
List Price: $16.95*
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"Best Nonfiction Book of the Year" "Time"
"Penetrating . . . reveal s] details that even close followers of Ali] might not have known. . . . An amazing story." "The New York Times"
On the night in 1964 that Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) stepped into the ring with Sonny Liston, he was widely regarded as an irritating freak who danced and talked way too much. Six rounds later Ali was not only the new world heavyweight boxing champion: He was "a new kind of black man" who would shortly transform America's racial politics, its popular culture, and its notions of heroism.
No one has captured Ali--and the era that he exhilarated and sometimes infuriated--with greater vibrancy, drama, and astuteness than David Remnick, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lenin's Tomb (and editor of "The New Yorker"). In charting Ali's rise from the gyms of Louisville, Kentucky, to his epochal fights against Liston and Floyd Patterson, Remnick creates a canvas of unparalleled richness. He gives us empathetic portraits of wisecracking sportswriters and bone-breaking mobsters; of the baleful Liston and the haunted Patterson; of an audacious Norman Mailer and an enigmatic Malcolm X. Most of all, King of the World does justice to the speed, grace, courage, humor, and ebullience of one of the greatest athletes and irresistibly dynamic personalities of our time.
"Nearly pulse-pounding narrative power . . . an important account of a period in American social history." "Chicago Tribune"
"A pleasure . . . haunting . . . so vivid that one can imagine Ali saying, 'How'd you get inside my head, boy?'" Wilfrid Sheed, "Time.
"By now we all have our notions about what Ali meant -- to his time and to the history of his sport. Of course David Remnick sheds light on these subjects, but where King of the World really shines is in the ring itself. With telling detail, Remnick captures the drama, danger, beauty, and ugliness of a generation's worth of big heavyweight fights." -- Bob Costa