By Mike Marqusee
Is there a more characteristic figure of the sixties than Muhammad Ali-playful and political, popular and non-conformist, defiant and triumphant? In a unique new book, Mike Marqusee puts the great boxer back in his true historical context to explore a crucial moment at the cross-roads of popular culture and mass resistance. He traces Ali's interaction with the evolving black liberation and anti-war movements, including his brief but fascinating liaison with Malcolm X, as well as his encounters with Martin Luther King. Marquesee's elegant and forceful narrative explores the origins and impact of Ali's dramatic public stands on race and the draft, and reinterprets the 'Rumble in the Jungle', shedding new light on its triumph and tragedy. Above all, he imbues Ali's story with a long-neglected international dimension, revealing why he was embraced with such warmth by diverse peoples across the globe. This timely antidote to the apolitical celebration of Ali as 'a great American' revisits the man and the period with a fresh eye, casting new light on both his courage and his confusions.