Approaching Ali: A Reclamation in Three Acts

Davis Miller. Liveright, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-63149-115-3
Journalist Miller (The Tao of Bruce Lee) here explores his long fascination with boxing icon Muhammad Ali and their eventual friendship. As a sickly, undersized teenager in North Carolina in the 1960s, Miller clung to the exploits of Ali as an escape from the loss of his mother and the bullying he suffered. Throughout various reinventions—competitive kickboxer, journalist, editor, father—Miller never lost his focus on Ali and eventually became enough of an intimate to serve as the Boswell of the champ’s post-boxing life, which was increasingly affected by Parkinson’s syndrome. Hero worship provides the impetus for the memoir, but Miller doesn’t ignore Ali’s philandering and his abuse of Joe Frazier, or the mounting damage wrought by Parkinson’s. In clear, observant prose, Miller details how the most outspoken and graceful heavyweight of all time now struggles to knot a tie or make himself understood. Yet in the wreck of “the black Superman,” Miller discovers and celebrates a spiritual Ali, a bodhisattva molded by the unlikely path of boxing and the Nation of Islam. Miller writes affectingly of his own life as well, a tactic that deepens the impressionistic swirl of his meetings with Ali. Readers may not share Miller’s adulation, but his engagement and journalistic integrity provide a unique perspective on a man he portrays as a hero for the world. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/2015
Release date: 11/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-63149-116-0
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-63149-223-5
Hardcover - 337 pages - 978-1-4104-8653-0
Show other formats
Discover what to read next