I’ve never been a fan of boxing. I don’t like to watch guys hitting one another unless they wear lots of padding and half of them are in NY Giants’ uniforms. So, growing up, although I was aware of Muhammad Ali and his “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” banter, I didn’t pay much attention. I knew odd details, like that he’d objected to the draft and changed his name, but I didn’t exactly know why.
Luckily, David Remnick has written a book that explains how a young African-American man from Louisville became one of the best-known men on the planet. This book came out in 1998 and I somehow missed it, but recently a friend recommended it, and I am thankful that he did. It captures so much more than the world of boxing: it shows the racially-divided world that Cassius Clay, Jr. was born into and the waves he made as he rose to prominence.
More than a biography, this book is a page-turner that shows the impact that an individual can have on our culture.