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Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times Paperback – Bargain Price, June 15, 1992

4.5 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hauser compiles opinions from a wide-ranging roster of interviewees to create a portrait of the controversial boxing champ that bristles with insights, jabs and tributes. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A detailed, if hagiographic, account of Ali's public career and private life. Hauser (author of one of the best books ever on the fight game, 1985's Black Lights) is an obvious and uncritical fan of Ali's, whom he apotheosizes early on as ``the most recognizable person on earth.'' In aid of what might be called oral biography, Hauser draws on over 200 sources--acquaintances, associates, opponents, friends, enemies, blood relations, and celebrity observers of the sometime title-holder--to create a composite portrait that's longer on sympathetic assertions than reflective insight. The ranks of the commentators include the oddly coupled likes of: Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr. (Ali's dad); Joe Martin (the Louisville cop who taught Ali to box); Olympic teammates; Atallah Shabazz (the daughter of Malcolm X who helped convert Ali to the Nation of Islam); trainer Angelo Dundee; Jimmy Carter; Leon Spinks; George Plimpton; Sylvester Stallone; referee Arthur Mercantee; Chuck Wepner (a human punching bag widely known as ``The Bayonne Bleeder''); and Carl Walker (the black assistant attorney general who tried to make the federal case against Ali for draft evasion). Overall, Hauser does a good job of marshaling a wealth of facts into a cohesive whole and providing behind-the-scenes glimpses of a ring lion in the autumn, if not winter, of his years. Throughout, however, the author makes almost no attempt to conceal the genuine regard and admiration he feels for his subject. A walkover for Ali but a disappointment for those with even a passing interest in the sweet science's grittier realities. (Twenty-four pages of photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671779710
  • ASIN: B005UVSYB6
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,802,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Muhammad Ali has always played a large part in my life. He showed me that being black did not make me inferior at a time when almost everything and everyone said the opposite. This book gave me a fresh perspective on his achievements and his beliefs, thanks to contributions from sources as diverse as Joe Frazier and Cheryl Tiegs. The stories are wide-ranging and informative. Some were laugh out loud funny (very embarrassing when you're on a train). Some were depressing (stories surrounding Ali's entourage and the Holmes fight almost made me cry). There are even some from people who don't like Ali or see him as someone worthy of praise. All of them gave me a deeper, more rounded insight into a man that I viewed with awe and reverence. I started the book seeing Ali as some kind of distant super hero and ended it seeing him as a warm, caring human being with the same flaws and insecurities as anyone else. Along the way I laughed a lot and learned even more. The book is funny, engaging, and inspirational...just like the man himself.
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Format: Paperback
MUHAMMAD ALI: HIS LIFE AND TIMES, through accounts of noteworthy admirers and close-associates, chronicles the life and times of a living legend. Long-time pugilistic journalist and award-winining author Thomas Hauser has painstakingly compiled a wealth of information to support what seems to be his thesis: that no matter how amazing Muhammad Ali was in the ring, his worth as a boxing champion is far exceeded by his worth as a citizen of this world. In 500 pages of text, we are able to follow Ali in his growth from a brash, boisterous heavyweight contender to a highly devoted man of God who brings happiness wherever he tarries. For fight fans, all of the classic bouts from Liston I to Manilla are covered; anecdotes to be especially savored are those leading up to the first Liston fight, where Ali was arguably out of his mind in the extent to which he went in taunting his opponent, as well as the unadvised beating Ali suffered at the hands of Larry Holmes in the twilight of his career. Most interesting were the sections of the book that dealt with Ali's relationship with Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam at the beginning of his first reign as heavyweightchampion and his conscientiously objecting to fighting in Vietnam. It is obvious that Hauser is captivated by his subject and looks upon Ali with great reverence. At times this can lead to the feeling that the author went to great lengths selecting interviews which sanitize and exagerate the legacy of Ali. Still, so many different people can't be distorting the truth; it is undeniable that Ali has a heart of gold and it brought a smile to my face everytime I read about him performing magic tricks for children, or meeting with fans, no matter what, to show his appreciation for their humanity. It is tragic and anger-provoking that Ali was taken advantage of by so many people that he loved and provided for, but it is a blessing that his spirit exists in this bio for future generations to learn of.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book did provide me information that I did not know about Ali. But the book was mostly a series of direct quotes from persons involved with Ali with limited narration by the author to tie the quotations together. It made for a long, slow read because many of the quotes had information that I found not relevant or were repititve information. I expect a biographer to sort out the duplicative material and provide a much better flow. Further it should be noted that the book was written 20+ years ago and was somewhat dated. There was about a page of postscript from the author regarding the time lapse but no update on Ali's current situation or status.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To the millions of retirees Mohamed Ali (Cassias Clay) belongs to the 60"s and 70"s of the past century. That was when he used to dominate the boxing world and when his fights used to be anxiously awaited by admirers around the entire world.Those were the days when he terrorised his opponents and intimidated them with threats and demeaning poems. He was not just tough; he was merciless! In fact, he literally drove some of his toughest challengers to tears!

But to say this is to omit the other half of a great story. Mohamed Ali these days is a totally different man. The times when he humiliated his challengers with his swift knockouts inflicting heavy damage are gone, but not necessarily missed. Paradoxically, Mohamed himself was neither hateful nor vindictive as demonstrated by his generous and kind acts towards all people, specially as he grew older. To him boxing was a technical and strategic challenge and not a way to hurt his foes. That is why he almost never said a bad word about his opponent after a fight but instead he evaluated his performance on a strictly technical basis.

To understand Mohamed Ali we need to realise that his life consisted of two distinct phases. The first phase was purely devoted to his athletic performance in which he was considered the greatest heavy-weight boxer in the world . Those were the years of glory for which he became known from Asia to America. Interestingly, however, the second phase was dominated by spiritual devotion. That is when Mohamed converted to Islam and became emotionally and intellectually a devout Muslim. This once-devastating boxer now kneels down and prays to God (Allah) five times every day. He hates no body and wants to help every body. He now regrets some of the cruel things he had done to his foes.
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