King of the World

King of the World


By (author) David Remnick

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  • Publisher: PICADOR
  • Format: Paperback | 300 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 192mm x 24mm | 281g
  • Publication date: 10 December 1999
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0330371894
  • ISBN 13: 9780330371896
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Sales rank: 81,683

Product description

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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Editorial reviews

An extraordinary book, meticulously researched and fluently written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Remnick tells a story which, without his help, would be hard to fatham now. Ali Rose to re-define a sport that had been defined by Good Negroes (such as Floyd Patterson) and Bad Negroes (such as Sonny Liston, with who's life, interestingly, Mike Tyson wholly identifies). Ali brought the ring craft and speed of a middleweight to a division that presumed that Liston was unbeatable. Having seen Liston stay on his stool rather than fight on, Ali then shocked America by turning to the Nation of Islam. In a single move, he became the first heavyweight of recent times not to be 'owned' by the Mafia and became a demon to large parts of America, both white and black that saw the 'Black Muslims' as a threat as big as communism. Ali's fight for black civil rights is part of history now, so to read it as a blow-by-blow account is a revelation for those too young to remeber. Patterson defined himself as a good black man fighting a segregationist evil, while another (black) fighter Ernie Terrell refused to use Ali's Islam name and insisted on calling him Cassius Clay. Ali's response was to prolong the fight, jabbing his already beaten opponent in the face, shouting 'What's my name? What's my name?'. The book takes us up to Ali's refusal to be drafted into the Army to fight in Vietnam 'I ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong'), a stance for which he was vilified at the time, but one which finally gained him respect, as the unjustness of the war sank in. He now transcends his sport ('Ali and boxing are two different subjects, as his doctor says) and has become an icon. This tells the story of the building of that icon. Social history, sport and biography in one superb bundle. (Kirkus UK)