- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Abridged
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: June 20, 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008CXV0YC
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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King of the World Audible – Abridged
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Top Customer Reviews
But there's a special bonus in this book - a good portion of it deals with Sonny Liston. You talk about your seminal 20th Century characters. They don't get any more interesting than this guy: the abused son of a sharecropper, long stretches of imprisonment, a fight career directed by mob interests, a violent death. In short, a writer's dream. Remnick brings Liston together with Floyd Patterson (and you'll never find a greater constrast) and walks you through these two battles before turning his attention to Ali. Thus, you get a full portrait of Liston prior to encountering the force of nature that was then Cassius Clay.
The effect is a curious sympathy that you have for Liston as he enters the maelstrom developing around Ali. In most retellings, Liston is cast as the personification of evil. Remnick made me see him in a different light.
My advice for a great Ali study program:
1. Watch 'When We Were Kings' [Best documentary ever]
2. Read 'The Fight' by Norman Mailer
3. Read 'King of the World'
4. Buy any book featuring Howard Bingham's photography of Ali.
The first thing that struck me when I read the book is that its first section discusses Muhammad Ali (or Cassius Clay) very little. Instead, Remnick focuses on the two boxers who helped to gave shape to Ali's legend: Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston. The former was a reluctant champion from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, and Remnick brings Patterson's reticence and self-doubt into full view. The latter was a street thug from an impoverished rural background, a vision of America's deepest fears about African-Americans.
Remnick details Liston's two devastating first-round demolitions of Patterson and illuminates the complicated relationship the public had with Liston. On the one hand, he was despised because of his criminal background and ties to the mob; on the other, Remnick makes clear, he was comforing because he confirmed stereotyped perceptions of black men. One of Remnick's great accompishments in the book is to humanize Liston without in the least diminishing his surly and even hateful demeanor.
With Liston the controversial heavyweight champ, the loud, abrasive, seemingly self-confident Cassius Clay, of Louisville, Kentucky, stepped into the national spotlight.Read more ›
It turns out that the bully in question was not just your familiar neighborhood bike thief, but Ali's own racist nation. Ali's life has become nothing if not a living metaphor of how a single moral individual should fight a thief and rapist as big and as formidable as ones own country. And racist America was a thief and a rapist -- not just one trying to steal Cassius Clay's bike -- it was trying to steal something much more important and valuable. American tried desperately, as it has succeeded doing with most black men, to steal Ali's manhood too. But try as it might-- stripping him of his chance at the title during his best years, of his means of economic survival, in trying to jail him -- it failed.
Sadly, the part of the story that Remick got wrong was the only important part: claiming that it was Ali who had re-created himself to suit the requirements of racist America instead of the other way around? Ali did no such thing! To suggest so, is not just an implicit lie; it is an explicit lie as well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
before my time I've always heard stories about him, it was great to read about himPublished 3 months ago by Tembi P.
as a KY native i lived thru this the great and best of ali. this book took me back to my youth. thank you so much!Published 4 months ago by goldie
The best deal I've ever gotten on a book that seems brand new.Published 4 months ago by Juan Mitchell
I don't know about the rest of you but I finished this book losing a lot of respect for Ali. I'm not sure how you can just skim over him being such a hypocrite. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Chris Savage
I hate boxing, but David Remnick created a fascinating panorama of that time period in U.S. history. I couldn't put the book down. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Puck the Reader
I have been a fan of Ali most of my life watched his fights. As a kid I watched his fights and admired his stance against the Vietnam war. Read morePublished 10 months ago by jay seslowe
The author had great insight into Muhammad Ali's life. Changed some of my perceptions of Ali. Easy to read.Published 11 months ago by Daisy Brown