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Ghosts of Manila: The Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier Paperback – February 19, 2002
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Kram begins his saga in the present, looking at the different kinds of isolation that currently surround each man's life, then dances back and forth through time to spar with just who these warriors have been and how they came to be the icons, for better or worse, they became. Ghosts of Manila is more than a twin biography, though; it is an often haunting meditation on how much we project onto our athletes, and how destructive the projections can be. As much as any punishment sustained in three of the most brutal title fights in heavyweight history, the baggage--personal and societal--that Ali and Frazier carried into and out of the ring changed them physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Did Ali earn all the love? Did Frazier deserve all the scorn? To answer the questions, Kram bravely goes toe to toe with Ali worship and Ali's myth. His daring rewards us with knockout profiles of two legends more complex and real than mere iconography might allow. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The greatest thing about this book is that it doesn't lie. There are no heroes, no bad guys; it is simply the truth about the massive hatred flowing between two men and how it came to be that way. Frazier is shown for the brilliant fighter that he was, (finally), and Ali is brought down to the level he should have always been at.
The story is somewhat terrible. They started out as friends. Now Frazier is almost obsessed with his hatred of Ali, and Ali refuses to mention the competitor that made him such a spectacle.
Mark Kram writes with an intelligence that one would not expect from a boxing journalist. His references throughout the book to philosophers and writers might lose some people occasionally, (like me), the fact remains that he possesses an uncanny insight into human beings. His profiles of Ali and Frazier are awesome, and this book should go down as one of the great reports on the world of boxing.
There's no lionizing here. Mr. Kram is fair to all parties. He covers not only Frazier and Ali but the era immediately preceding them. So many details previously not known are brought to light here.
The complex relationship between the two fighters, the fire that burned between them and what started that fire which had to do with much more than simply pre-fight hype and professional rivalries.
Mr. Kram takes us through every bit of it right up to and including "The Thrilla in Manila". That doesn't mean he stops there. He follows up and brings us to the present. So much has been written about Ali and much is written here. Seldom are we given such an extensive view of Joe Frazier, who is no less compelling tha Ali in this book.
This is a jewel of a book. A keeper... This one goes up in the bookshelf in a secure place for future re-reads.
Thank you Mark Kram!!!!
Now, there are definitely truths to Kram's viewpoints. Sure, Ali was not really the civil rights hero he's often portrayed to be. He was also an incorrible womanizer, and he didn't treat a lot of people around him very well. Unfortunately, Kram goes overboard in his attempt to completely destroy the Ali myth. For instance, maybe Ali wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he was smart enough to use psychological warfare against both Frazier and Foreman inside and outside of the ring. Neither Frazier nor Foreman could fight back in like manner suffering devastating losses as a result. Also, Kram forgets a big reason why Ali was so loved. He was so damn charismatic. One needs only to view the Oscar-winning documentary "When We Were Kings" to appreciate Ali's appeal.
The story of Frazier's life is indeed sad, and he is still not appreciated as the great fighter that he was.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First of all, this was a well written book with a lot of insight. It's excellent in that regard. But many will find some of the things he says about Ali to be upsetting and maybe... Read morePublished 26 days ago by j in ny
Great account of the Ali Frazier trilogy. The "real" Ali is exposed as well as the demons that followed Smokin Joe. Much of the book is written first hand. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Andy White
It's an unvarnished look at a legend and his supreme rival. Both Ali and Frazier are cast in a different light. The carnage left behind for both men is astounding. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jon T Metzger
Kram writes a revisionist history of the Ali-Frazier rivalry. While you can appreciate his attempt to give Frazier the credit he deserves, he does so in a horribly one sided way. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Frank Love
Really enjoyed this book. Very informative. Just a terrific read and worth every cent Ali Frazier what more can be saidPublished 9 months ago
But I believe we create and control our own reality. Most of us are just passive recipients. Ali imposed his reality on the world. So did Frazier. Read morePublished 9 months ago by John Glismann
Good book on the relationship between Ali-Frazier, Ali's personal life including connection with the nation of Islam and numerous female marriages and relationships. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Peter Hurley