From the Inside Flap
"The Lost Legacy of Muhammad Ali" is Thomas Hauser's companion volume to his seminal 1991 work, "Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times," a biography hailed as "incomparable" by The New York Times,"a considerable achievement" by The Wall Street Journal, and "simply magnificent" by the Boston Globe. Fourteen years later, Hauser believes that Ali remains a transcendental figure in American life. But in recent years, Ali has been packaged and repackaged and the reasons for his importance, as well as the electrifying nature of his persona, have been obscured in a fog of revisionism.
"The Lost legacy of Muhammad Ali" strips away the revisionism to reveal, once again, the true Ali. Hauser has assembled all his writing about Ali, other than his definitive biography, and added several essays published here for the first time. He recounts Ali's triumphant ascent to near-mythical stature by virtue of his achievements, both inside the ring and out. But he also chronicles how, ever since Ali lit the flame to open the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, there has been a deliberate distortion of what Ali believed, said, and stood for in order to sanitize his public image and maximize his economic potential. That, Hauser asserts, is a disservice to history and to Ali himself.
Hauser recalls Ali as a great man with flaws. In his youth, Ali advocated racial segregation and demeaned many of his ring opponents. His embrace of the Nation of Islam and his refusal to fight in Vietnam engendered contempt from some and praise from others. Ali is now universally recognized as a champion of peace, freedom, and social justice. Hauser believes that it is incumbent to honor Ali but wring to selectively erase memories of the man he was.
"Great men are considered great," writes Hauser, "not only because of what they achieve, but also because of the road they travel to reach their final destiniation. Ali stood up for his convictions and sacrificed a great deal for them. So why hide the true nature of what his principles were?"
About the Author
Thomas Hauser is known internationally for his definitive biography, "Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times" and nine other books on boxing, but Hauser's writing isn't confined to one genre. His 31 previous books -- including his first, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated "Missing" -- cover the most diverse landscape imaginable and include love stories, murder mysteries, spy sagas, and works of non-fiction that have solidified his reputation as a reliable storyteller who brings to life events of complexity and importance. In 2005, Hauser received boxing's highest journalistic honor, the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence. A practicing attorney, he lives in New York.