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The Complete Muhammad Ali

Ishmael Reed calls this book The Complete Muhammad Ali because it includes material and photographs not found in other books about the Champion. The Complete Muhammad Ali also features new voices. Filipino American author Emil Guillermo speaks about how “The Thrilla’ In Manila” brought the Philippines into the Twentieth Century. The book charts Ali’s evolution from Black Nationalism to a universalism. But this does not discount the Nation of Islam and Black Nationalism’s important influence on Ali’s intellectual development. Instead of being dismissed as “Lunatics” and “thugs,” we hear from Black Nationalists and Nation of Islam members in their own words. More than a biography, The Complete Muhammad Ali is a fascinating portrait of the Twentieth Century and the beginning of the Twenty-First.



"'The Complete Muhammad Ali' is twelve solid rounds of writing. Throughout the text, Ishmael Reed jabs and juts fades and dances. He even plays a little rope-a-dope. In the end, his biography of Muhammad Ali stands above its competition. It is not always pretty and parts of it leave the legend of Ali somewhat bloodied. In doing so, it rings closer to the truth than the sanitized tale today’s public has accepted as real. This text is an in depth and studied look at a man, a sport, a nation and a history. In his contemplation of all of these, Ishmael Reed paints a canvas that is simultaneously darkened with shadows and brightened with hope; defined by history that is certain to be riven with a fair amount of controversy. Muhammad Ali became and remains much bigger than the man who bears that name. Ishmael Reed’s biography of Ali is similar in its breadth and scope." —Ron Jacobs for CounterPunch

Baraka Books
June 2015