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The Greatest: Muhammad Ali Hardcover – January 1, 2001

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-An introduction to Ali's life from his childhood to the present day, focusing on his career and the controversies surrounding him. Both his talent in the boxing ring and his showmanship earned him international fame, while his refusal to accept the stereotypical role of a black athletic star in the 1960s and his membership in the Nation of Islam brought him notoriety. Myers interweaves fight sequences with the boxer's life story and the political events and issues of the day. He doesn't shy away from reporting on the brutality of the sport and documents the toll it has taken on its many stars. Ample black-and-white photographs of the subject in and out of the ring illustrate the book. Covering Ali is a daunting task, especially since dozens of books and hundreds of articles have been written about him in the last 40 years. Fortunately, young adults have their own award-winning author, one with the perspective of being a young African American in Harlem during the height of the boxer's fame, to tell his story. Myers's writing flows while describing the boxing action and the legend's larger-than-life story.-Michael McCullough, Byron-Bergen Middle School, Bergen, NY

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-10. Myers tells the familiar story of Muhammad Ali's life and career in such a way as to inspire a new generation of readers, young people whose first glimpse of Ali may have come at the 1996 Olympics, when the Parkinson's-stricken former heavyweight champion lit the Olympic torch. Focusing on race, politics, religion, and boxing--"the arenas in which Ali's mark was indelible in . . . the national consciousness"--Myers vividly re-creates the life of the young Cassius Clay, from his childhood in segregated Louisville in the 1950s, through his Olympic triumph in 1960, to his rise as a professional fighter, culminating with the stunning victory over Sonny Liston in 1964. Then comes the dramatic second act of the Ali story--the transformation of young Clay into Muhammad Ali, a committed Black Muslim who would sacrifice his heavyweight title and face imprisonment by refusing to serve in the army during the Vietnam War. Myers succinctly summarizes the furor surrounding Ali's political activism, and he captures the excitement that Ali created in a generation of young African Americans (including Myers himself), who found in the brash, young boxer a new kind of hero. And, perhaps most vividly, Myers describes Ali the fighter, explaining his technique and offering a perceptive overview of the troubled business of boxing and the great physical risks the sport entails. This is finally a story about a black man of tremendous courage, the kind of universal story that needs a writer as talented as Myers to retell it for every generation. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1030L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Greatest
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590543423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590543422
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,559,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a perfect book for a kid 14 or 13 years old and younger - it's a fantastic introduction to Muhammad Ali - I just bought it for my friends son - he's 12 - not that familiar with Muhammad Ali - just a basic knowledge of the myth and legend - he knows "Float Like a Butterfly - Sting Like A Bee!"
This is a great way to show a youngster that in addition to being the Greatest Of All Time that he was (and is) one of the most influential, courages and important figure of the 1960's and up -
It gently shows and explains the race issues of the 60's without overwhelming a child or blasting it in their face - it's very difficult for a kid these days to understand that as little as 40 years ago (which is actually life times to a kid) that if you were black then you had to sit at the back of the bus - or couldn't drink from certain water fountains or had to "know you're place" and how Muhammad Ali shattered that mold - I'm hoping that this actually creates a dialogue with parent and child - anyway - it shows Muhammad as the Champ both in and out of the ring.
The book goes over some of the famous fights and rivalry's - from Liston to Frazier - once again I found myself excited about the blow by blows of these fights - no matter how many times I read it I'm just awe struck about the Rumble in the Jungle -
I highly recommend this for any child as a great introduction to The Greatest Of All Time - Muhammad Ali!
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Format: Paperback
The greatest muhammad ali was a really good book. I don't like reading but i couldn't but it down. It is about Muhammad Ali and his life. He got into boxing because of a kid that stole his bike. He wanted to beat the [stuff] out of the kid. As soon as they find the theif, Ali's trainer said he had good potentail. This book goes through Ali's life as a boxer and how he started. It talks about his family too. Walter Dean Myers wrote a lot of good books like Moster, and Fallen Angels which i also read. After reading those 2 books i wasen't disapointed.
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A Kid's Review on January 13, 2004
Format: Turtleback
This story is a portrayal of a young boy named Cassius Clay who grows into one of the greatest boxer's of all time. Walter Dean Myers presents the amazing story of Ali's life and his rise as a champion, his politics, and his battle against Parkinson's disease. It is a story of determination, energy, pride, and strength. From a daring young boxer with disease, Myers covers Ali's life with prowess and honesty. Ali's accomplishments, both in and out of the ring, present him as a man of principal, willing to take risks to achieve his goals.
Ali was a young man with a lot of boxing talent who grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. Raised by his grandmother, Ali possessed a work ethic of none other. Although Ali was a great fighter, racism and disouragement made it hard for Ali to achieve his goals.
If tou choose to read The Greatest you will experience fast paced action, crisp writing, photographic events and personalities, and vivid fight scenes. Ali followed his heart and became a symbol respected by all races, religions, and ideologies. Ali was the world heavyweight champion four times and may be the greatest boxer ever to step foot in the ring.
Delving into the civil rights and the Nation of Islam, Concientios objector status during the Vietnam war, and the danger of boxing. Myers presents a man of courage and inspiration. The story gets in depth with Ali's fight against Parkinson's disease and how he fought in the ring. "Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee" was Ali's famous line. He was well known for his cocky attitude and he was also the center of attention.
Ali's story is a great one, thus, that is why he is the greatest. I would reccommend this story for anyone to read, it is really a great book.
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Format: Hardcover
Muhammed Ali may not have been the biggest, meanest boxer of all time, but he definitely has to be one of the most determined athletes ever to set foot in a ring. That is why Myers, like Ali himself, refers to the boxer as "the greatest." Through easy reading, Walter Dean Myers paints a picture of what life was life for working class blacks in the near South (Louisville, KY) in the 1950's. He describes the fighters who came before Ali (the heroes like Joe Louis and Archie Moore), and goes into detail in describing both the person and the boxing style of Ali's opponents--Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and others). Of course, Myers also details the mental strategies and physical competency of Ali. It is here that the reader realizes that much of Ali's game was fought outside the ring, with not only his next opponent, but with the press, the public, and the government. The subject of the war in Viet Nam, the military draft, the Nation of Islam, the skewing of the military to induct more minorities, and the subject of 'conscientious objection' are all handled in an introductory fashion, which will give young readers a sense of the social history of the period without the ho-hum of a history book. Walter Dean Myers' book, The Greatest, also dissects the boxing industry, where young talent is often beaten to a senseless pulp for the sake of audiences, public approval and a very few dollars. I have already recommended this book to several students who think a career in professional athletics could be within their grasp. Myers does an excellent job of conveying the fact that the young boxer from Louisville was the greatest in his determination to win, not because of his physical ability, but because of his mental agility.Read more ›
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