Muhammad Ali-arguably the finest athlete of the twentieth century and incontestably one of the most famous Americans of his time-is known the world over, not only for his boxing prowess, but for his rebellious courage and resilience against controversy. He has been both underdog and champion, villain and prince, playboy and staunch Muslim, exalted American and punished conscientious objector. He was the ultimate athlete-Heavyweight Champion of the World-and today confronts the physical debilitations of Parkinson's disease.
A one-of-a-kind volume, The Muhammad Ali Reader collects more than thirty of the best writings about this boxing legend in an incredible anthology by the greatest about The Greatest. This is the amazing story of Muhammad Ali-and the world's reaction to him-told by a stellar array of authors, athletes, and social commentators. Floyd Patterson defends Ali's right to criticize America's participation in the Vietnam War; Malcolm X explains how Ali went from "entertainer" to "threat" with his declaration as "a man of race"; Ali himself shares some intimate and definitive thoughts in a Playboy magazine interview; and Gay Talese gives us a front seat on a ride to Cuba, where Ali meets up with Fidel Castro.
Organized by decade, chapters begin with a few opening remarks by Ali himself, and a spectacular sixteen-page photo insert captures The Champ in all his guises. With an introduction by Gerald Early, one of the finest contemporary writers on boxing, The Muhammad Ali Reader confirms Ali's standing as one of the most controversial and charismatic Americans of our time.
Gerald Early is the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, professor of English and of African and Afro-American Studies, and director of the Center for Humanities at Washington University. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is the editor of several volumes, including This Is Where I Came In: Black America in the 1960s; The Sammy Davis Jr. Reader; Body Language: Writers on Sport; Speech and Power; Lure and Loathing: Essays on Race, Identity, and the Ambivalence of Assimilation; and My Soul's High Song: The Collected Works of Countee Cullen, as well as the author of The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature, and Modern American Culture, which won the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism; One Nation Under a Groove: Motown and American Culture; Daughters: On Family and Fatherhood; and Tuxedo Junction.