Top positive review
It's lack of faith which makes people afraid of meeting challenges.
on 12 November 2013
I bought the book in an attempt to understand Ali's influence on the Nation of Islam movement in the US. His role as a Muslim hero among the Muslim population outside US was never in question. Most non-US Muslims are not aware that Nation of Islam has its own prophets which is blasphemous notion among traditional Muslims.
Cassius Clay's conversion to Muhammad Ali is covered in great detail. The style does become cumbersome sometime as the book reads like a long traps script of a documentary. There are even video links of interviews given in the book. Cassius gravitated towards Malcolm because of the strong message of self love, which is pretty common among most GOAT (greatest of all time) sports people. The other strong attraction was the confrontational narrative which must sound so familiar to Cassius as well. No wonder he wasn't attracted to the other black civil rights activist Martin Luther King as he must have sounded rather pliant in comparison. One definite advantage of the style used in the book is that I did feel like living in the 1960's America because the language was maintained.
What did the conversion do for Ali, as he must have gotten something out of this conversion himself? Well for me he became a lot more clearer and focussed as the core message of NOI (Nation of Islam) is about segregating from the white race by defining a new black profile, complete with their own religion, separate God, firm belief in self-love even down to the new name. For the new Muslim name broke their link with the original slave masters. In Ali all of NOI core fundamental values were realised as a living breathing ideal.
Trouble is that the same galvanizing message for self conscious blacks which worked so perfectly for Ali in the beginning, also started to cramp his progression as the message was only divisive in nature. In order to really progress he had to forgive his White tormentors which the NOI teaching squarely rejected outright. Mainstream Islam does not have the same issue on the racial level at least and therefore the Islamic brotherhood proudly accepts all colours. Unfortunately the same hospitality is not accorded to people belonging to other religions.
Ali Bomaye (Ali Kill him).
I love the way all the fights are build up and described by the author. Ali was the complete fighter, both verbally and strategically inside the ring. The author has not rushed or cut corners with the interviews, which seems out of deep respect to the legend. The legend who transcended his sport to become a symbol of love. Ali had a similar effect to what Tiger Woods had on the US stock market years after, only Ali's lifted the spirits of people all over the world each time he fought.
By the end of the book, a hero emerges. A hero who doesn't have to be either the brightest or the strongest nor the most sophisticated kid on the block. The only thing required is the profound recognition of right and wrong, and a strong urge with limitless energy to become a constructive member of the society, and Muhammad Ali had that.
His whole life reflected a fight for justice and equality for impoverished blacks of America against the White rich class, and this image deeply resonated with all the unrepresented poor of the world. Ali became a symbol for the poor, an icon for their hopes and aspirations to rise and develop.
` I am still gonna find out who stole my bike when I was 12 years old in Louisville, and I'm still gonna whup him. That was a gud bike.' Muhammad Ali.