Ali Rap

Books: Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life

Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life Why I am recommending this book:

Ali inspires. He inspires me specifically because he has always has the courage of his convictions and that is demonstrated beautifully in this book, a collection of his words, masterfully woven together, with pictures.

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This biography, made up almost entirely of quotes from Muhammad Ali, serves as an important and apt reminder of how daring, outspoken, witty and relevant the boxing champ was and continues to be. Editor and designer Lois tells the athlete's story chronologically, beginning with his first words, "Gee-gee," a nickname his mother called him for the rest of her life. While there are plenty of asides, insults and rallying cries, including the famous "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," Lois also includes a number of one-two narratives, including the young boxer's reaction to a newspaper photo of lynching victim Emmet Till ("It made me sick, and it scared me") and the time Ali stayed in a U.K. hotel suite next door to Prince Charles (when Ali knocked on the door, the butler curtly remarked that they had not ordered room service). While Ali had a lot to say about boxing, courage and himself (his favorite subject), he also had plenty to say about civil rights, religion and the Vietnam War. Each quote is married with an apt image, including the landmark Esquire cover in which the champ is portrayed as Saint Sebastian, with a chest full of arrows-only this reproduction is smartly annotated with the champ's own list of his tormentors (including Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara). Lois's combination of words and images serves as an eloquent, swift and surprisingly nuanced biography of one of America's most important citizens.
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