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Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,496 ratings  ·  87 reviews
A sweeping biography of one of the greatest and most provocative athletes of all time
Decades after his final fight, Muhammad Ali remains larger than life in the imagination of hundreds of millions of people around the world. He won the heavyweight championship at age twenty-two by conquering Sonny Liston in dramatic fashion. The political establishment stripped him of his
ebook, 538 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Open Road Media (first published June 15th 1991)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  1,496 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Tariq Mahmood
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, biography
It's lack of faith which makes people afraid of meeting challenges.

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 sometim
Michael Obiora
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My life is better for having read this book - and for me it doesn’t feel dramatic, and it doesn’t feel like an exaggeration when I read this sentence back and think about it. As I write this review I’m shaking with amazement. I was so engrossed by this biography of Muhammad Ali (akin to the way I felt when reading Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk To Freedom) that at times I forgot that with each page turn I was getting closer to reading about the demise of this incredible man’s health. Muhammed Ali is ...more
Chris Steeden
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. This is an incredible biography. A lot of biographies and autobiographies I have read get mired in detail that just does not interest. Not once did this happen in this book. For me, anyway. It is probably because of the structure where the author uses interviews which actually brings everything to life.

It is a big book but at no point was I weary of reading it. Always helps, I guess, when the subject matter is so darn interesting. With the internet and YouTube I watched the whole of A
Vidur Kalive
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the greatest story ever told of possibly the greatest man who has ever walked this earth. Thomas Hauser has succeeded in putting together a unique compilation of different peoples' accounts of the Muhammad Ali. The book is written to match the gravitas of his life story. This book will definitely make the level headed person rethink his life and embark on several reforms in order to lead a better life. Muhammad Ali's journey from being an uneducated black man in a then prejudiced America ...more
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i came of age after ali's reign in the ring. so while i was always aware that he was a great man, it wasn't until i read this book that i finally learned how he completely revolutionized the boxing world and how he unflinchingly gave away his enormous fortune. this book is well written and combines numerous perspectives from those closest to ali (whether they wished him well or otherwise). ...more
Paul McFadyen
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cracking read.

Sure, there are flaws - it definitely goes soft on Ali on a few things: his strict adherence to Elijah Muhammad, at a time where the Nation of Islam was preaching strict segregation (Ali converted to Sunni Islam in the 70s and now practices Sufism); his philandering; his attitude to Ernie Terrell and especially Joe Frazier. That said, I don't believe we'd have the range of voices in this book, without the overall positive approach and tone that the author has brought to
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Muhammad Ali is a legend, not only in America, for being a great athlete, and a black celebrity-who took a stance on the Vietnam war- but also in the Muslim world and in Africa. This is so, because his accomplishments were a source of pride, for both groups, in a post colonial world, when Ali surfaced on the world stage.

Ali was once the most famous man alive, without a shadow of doubt. The younger global crowd may not know him today, but back in his day, even the village folks in the Arab world
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because he was one of my heroes, and by the time I finished it he became my greatest hero ever. I originally wanted to experience how confident he was going into a fight, and I discovered he is much more: he's loving, deeply religious, and generous. What celebrity allows people to enter his home whenever they liked? Very touching biography.

Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great insight into one of the greatest sporting icons of the twentieth century. Hauser takes a back seat as the story is told by Ali and the people who knew him, with Hauser tying it superbly together.
Muneeb Hameed
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
13 days and 515 pages later I feel like it has been a true privilege to have read this book for all it, and Muhammad Ali, has revealed to me about strength, about heart, about perseverance, about humility, about confidence, about respect, commitment, principle, pride, generosity, humanity, spirituality, and love. Hauser did an extensive job of capturing all of the different perspectives on Ali's boxing career (from the smallest fights to the Thrilla in Manila), personal life, spirituality, and e ...more
Jordan Brennan
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sacred text.
Tomislav Gluhak
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just amazing! Well written story of a life of one of the most important athlete of all time. No matter if you are a fan of boxing in general or Ali's fan this book is a must read. Really inspirational. ...more
Jun 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historians
Recommended to Phayvanh by: library book sale
Finishing this book took much longer than other books I’d been reading recently, which is a testament to the density of material presented here. Though Thomas Hauser is listed as the author of this book, I’d argue that it’s co-written by everyone interviewed for this massive tome.

Hauser presents his narrative Studs Terkel style, often with lengthy monologues on his subject. The story is presented chronologically, with chapter titles such as “Origins” and “The Birth of Ali”. I enjoyed gettin
Oct 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book about a great man, possibly the greatest of men. I'm a bit young to remember Muhammad Ali the boxer, though I recall one of his last fights, a travesty of entertainment that resembled nothing less than a magnificent career in the ring dying over the course of a single bout. My generation was that of Mike Tyson, a more terrifying fighter than Ali and a far more odious human being.

Hauser's chronicle does a very fine job of stating the significance of Ali, both in the ring and
“Muhammad was probably the first black man in America to successfully break with the white establishment and survive.”

This is one of the most comprehended biographies on Ali; showing both of his positive and negative sides. Hauser interviewed various people (relatives, friends, rivals, Ali's associates, journalists and physicians). The events are discussed from different perspectives which gives the reader the choice to choose what to believe also the availability of different sides gives a broa
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the book Muhammad Ali, by Thomas Hauser, this book was said to be told for Muhammad Ali to show that he is not just a vicious boxer that will kick your butt in the ring, but to show the other side of Ali from a close friend of Muhammad, which is Thomas Hauser. Ali has been center stage of the ring for twenty years, or in other words he has been fighting in the ring for seven president terms. During this time only two people had won the heavy eeight champiinship if the world at a younger age. ...more
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Muhammad Ali growing up. It was interesting reading about him as an adult. I liked the format of the book, filled with interviews and comments from all different people in Ali's life; including Ali himself and his family. He sounds by all accounts a generous, very religious and humble man behind the scenes. He was smart about marketing himself and using bravado in order to rouse curiosity in people so they wanted to come watch his fights. Luckily he was a very gifted boxer to ...more
Dominic Jukes

I bought this at an airport bookshop 5 years ago and finally got around to reading it. It takes an interesting approach to the subject by taking many quotes from the people present at the time and Ali himself. I felt that as a person he is clearly fascinating but the format often missed a chance for the author to link the comments a little more with background information. Some key people are not given a voice which is a shame for balance (Don King) for example. The story also finishes at a po
Jan 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a comprehensive portrait of Muhammad Ali told through the words of a hundred or so authors. It is a unique and definitive way of recounting a life.

Still, it suffers from the self-assuredness of many of its speakers. Its subject should age better than his idolaters. A generation that imparted "trust no one over the age of thirty" now suffers the irony of its children's disbelief when - without much more than opinion, adulation and gratefulness - it offers a testimony that mostly redu
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little wary of this book since it was an "authorized biography" and I thought it might gloss over some of the more unsavory episodes of Ali's life, but that was not the case at all. The author's extensive interviews with those around Ali painted a very complete picture of his life. It's written as kind of an oral history using direct quotes from many of the interviewees and it makes for a very enjoyable read. ...more
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very comprehensive, mulifaceted account of an inscrutable legend. The many first-person recollections make the book balanced, although some are a little tough to slog through. I'd heard of Ali, Liston, Patterson, Foreman, Holmes, Don King, etc. but the author turns them into fully fleshed characters. I also learned a lot about the Nation of Islam. My only complaint is I would have liked more about Cassius' early life and upbringing. ...more
Troy Vistro
Aug 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those of you who might have grown up in the 80's and only remember Ali from second hand accounts, or when he was on Different Strokes. It is a great look at an athlete that transcended sport. His genuine charisma, confidence, and eloquence are only imitated (quite pitifully) by so many athletes today. ...more
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a huge boxing fan and more importantly, a Muhammad Ali fan, I finished this book cover to cover within 2 days. I literally put it down only to sleep. You don't have to be a boxing fan in order to enjoy the book. I personally found the latter chapters about Ali's personal life after his boxing career to be far more interesting. ...more
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great. Although it was written in 1991, it's one I haven't read before. I liked the style it was written in with numerous perspectives from his many friends and detractors. To me he was, is , and always will be the greatest. Not only for his athletic ability but for standing up for what he believed in and didn't condone. ...more
David Horney
May 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-42nd-year
this is an authorized biography that was intended to be a "warts and all" presentation. it is utterly entertaining, unpretentious and fascinating. ali as a cultural phenomena and social hero/outcast is something i was too young to understand. ...more
Ahmad Nazeri
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Muhammad Ali is one of the most inspirational people. He gave so much of himself to his fans and those around him. While I learned a lot about Ali and was inspired to give more, I wish the book was more focused on his character outside the ring.
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the better autobiographies I have read. I knew of Muhammed's boxing acclaim, what I didn't know was with his limited education he was a genius at marketing and promoting himself. His generosity that comes from a pure place is truly inspiring. ...more
Philip Girvan
A pretty comprehensive biography, told as oral history. Most of the key players in Ali's life, including The Champ himself, agreed to be interviewed and the life of one of the 20th century's most engaging personalities is revealed. ...more
Cheng Dang
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most comprehensive history of the person arguably most responsible for modern day big money prize fighting. Written in the form of an oral biography, it presents a wide variety of views and accounts to shed light on why Ali is considered such a historically relevant figure.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sport
Twenty pages into this Christmas present I realise that it is one of the books about Ali that I read twenty years ago or more. So what. It's a fine book and I like the story, so I read it all again...reliving part of my own life along the way. ...more
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Thomas Hauser (b. 1946) is the author of forty-two books on subjects ranging from professional boxing to Beethoven. His first work, Missing, was made into an Academy Award–winning film. Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times earned numerous awards for its author, including the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat ...more

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