- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (February 28, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743262115
- ISBN-13: 978-0743262118
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.1 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sound and Fury: Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship Hardcover – February 28, 2006
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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From Publishers Weekly
Veteran sportswriter Kindred seeks to "recover Muhammad Ali from mythology and Howard Cosell from caricature" with interlocking portraits that trace the rising careers of the boxer and the sportscaster to their first meeting in the early 1960s and then through the creation of one of television's most popular bantering couples. Their on-air playfulness didn't necessarily translate into full friendship. Kindred carefully notes that while Cosell supported the heavyweight champion's right to refuse induction into the army during Vietnam, he never expressed support for Ali's actual position. Likewise, Ali knew exactly how the relationship benefited them, once telling Cosell, "You know you need me more than I need you." Kindred's close relationships with both men inform the story without overwhelming it, and he depicts the moments at which he was not present—Cosell's early battles with anti-Semitism in the broadcast industry, Ali's fear that the Nation of Islam would kill him the way they did Malcolm X—with the same immediacy he brings to his eyewitness perspective. There are already many books on Ali, but few independent considerations of Cosell, and none that show so effectively how each man helped create the legend surrounding the other. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Their differences are glaring: Muslim and Jew, black and white, pretty and ugly. But look deeper, and their odd friendship makes sense: Howard Cosell and Muhammad Ali shared loud mouths, humble beginnings, relentless ambition, and healthy egos. Although Ali's life has been biographied to death, his relationship with Cosell has never received its due until now. Kindred, who knew both Ali and Cosell well, has written a book that is at once well researched, pleasantly anecdotal, and remarkably insightful. For example, rarely before has Ali's struggle over whether to serve in the army been portrayed so well. And Cosell's life story is absolutely gripping, particularly his remarkable midlife career move from lawyer to broadcaster. But the best thing about the book is the friendship itself. Cosell, who knew nothing about boxing until he was nearly 40, quickly recognized Ali's brilliance inside and outside of the ring. And Ali teased Cosell but respected him in a way that most of Cosell's ridiculers didn't. Even if the shelves are sagging with books about Ali, room should be made for this approachable, touching, and altogether fascinating buddy comedy. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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I grew up watching ABC's Wide World Of Sports which routinely would show tapes of Clay/Ali's fights the Saturday after the fight, Ali watching the tapes with Cosell and commenting on the fight. I also recall several of his fights from outside the US being telecast live on that show, Cosell covered them as well.
Going into this read, I had read all of Cosell's books, nothing about Ali.
The book starts out talking about the first Cassius Clay. Indeed, Phil Mushnick of the Post finds it ironic that Ali chose to discard the name of a fervent abolitionist. The author then talks about Cosell and Clay growing up. He does not seem to stress that Clay grew up middle-class. He paints a darker picture of Cosell's childhood with a bad family situation.
Still, I enjoyed the stuff on Clay. But Kindred glosses over many parts of Clay's life. Barely anything is written about Clay in the Olympics, nor of his early career. Little is written of Clay's pre-Islam religious views, did he have any of them before he experienced Islam?
This lack of detail plagues the book throughout. Nothing is said about Ali's European fights. And the lack of detail to the Fight Of The Century (first Frazier fight) is appalling.
There are just enough good points in the book to make me keep with it. As noted by earlier reviewers, the author does not gloss over many of the faults of the two people here. If anything, he is kinder to Cosell who is a mixed bag at best. This man who supposedly told it like it is was usually willing to be a loyal shill to ABC and whatever trash he covered. A man who talked about the anti-semitism he faced, but ignored his own religion openly.
At the same point, Cosell should be praised liberally for his willingness to be critical of an athlete. If you don't believe that, listen to any PGA telecast. Every golfer is a model citizen, great father and never hits a bad shot.
The author also brings out an interesting idea, that Ali stayed on as Elijah Muhammad's stooge out of fear of being killed by them like Malcolm X was.
It also reminds us that Cosell carefully framed his support for Ali in the idea that Ali's being stripped of his titles without legal redress. The author stresses that Cosell never revealed his own political views at any time. Cosell could have been an advocate of nuking Hanoi for all we know. But his support for Ali was based on a narrow point, that Ali was injured with no redress.
The book does a nice job going into their lives after Ali's fighting career ended. Ali's physical and mental status is discussed at length.
Still, I wonder why little is discussed of both of them and their families. There are maybe 20 words about either of them and how they were with their children. You know that Cosell worshipped his Emmy, why did she love such a difficult man.
The title of this book is a lie and the author states that several times throughout it. The two were not friends. The author clearly states that the two were merely business associates who liked each other. But that is not a friendship by any stretch of the imagination. They had little relationship outside the fact that they helped each other's careers.
My review says neither fish nor fowl. I am disappointed with the two solo biographies and there is not enough meat in the joint biography to compensate for that.
ali was never more alive than when he was in the ring, or training for a fight: that is why he, as so many other fighters, was loath to leave the life he loved, fought for several years more than he should have, and of course paid a dear price for it. the fact that he may be the most beloved human on the plane today owes more to our society's need for heroes than anything else: ali is no longer able to cheat on his wife(s), turn his back on his friends (since his current spouse controls his schedule), or be manipulated by religious leaders and businessmen with their own terrible agendas (since he has little income, there is little need for the con artists of the world to carve out their pound of flesh). now, we can project all our own ideas on to this man who reportedly spends the bulk of his day in prayer, harmless to all.
cosell, having passed away years ago, can be looked at in a much more balanced and subjective manner now than when he was alive. his combination of ego and insecurity was toxic to most who associated with him, apparently, but there can be no doubt that he deserves to be considered a groundbreaker and a risk taker. while the rest of american media villified ali for attempting to evade the draft, cosell sided with the boxer. this and other events recounted by kindred show cosell, as compared with his contemporaries at least, to be a man of courage, vision and conviction. the fact that he became a casualty to his own ego later in his career (ex: trying to become a news anchor, distancing himself from the sport that made him famous once ali left the scene, the bitter jealousy aimed at his MNF cohosts) does not reduce his greatness.
a wonderful, moving work that will not make you want to nominate either cosell or ali for sainthood (far from it), but instead will provide the reader a deeper understanding of both, as well as the times they lived through.