King of the world: Muhammad Ali and the rise of an American hero (Remnick, David)

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King of the World is an unforgettable account of Muhammad Ali’s rise and self-creation, told by a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, places Ali in a heritage of great American originals.

David Remnick concentrates on Ali’s early career, when he was still fighting as Cassius Clay. The book begins in September 1962 with the fight between Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston, providing a remarkable sociological backdrop to Ali’s entrance on the boxing scene. Remnick then describes Clay’s 1964 fight with Liston, which even his own people thought Clay couldn’t win, and takes us through to 1967 when Ali refused the military draft to Vietnam. This is much more than a sports book. It is a study of the rise of the black voice in the American consciousness and a look at how the media creates its heroes - Cassius Clay began as a ‘light-hitting loudmouth’ before becoming gradually canonized by the American press and public as Muhammad Ali.