The impressive life story of Muhammad Ali is interwoven with vital moments in American history in this visually stunning, full-color biography.
The story of famed boxing champion Muhammad Ali is more appealing and accessible than ever before when told as though it’s happening in real time, through photographs and ephemera such as report cards and training regimens, and through newspaper articles, interviews, letters to the editor, and “breaking news” radio and TV transmissions that have been created by the author based on his extensive research.
From the Civil Rights Movement to the Rome Olympics, from joining the Nation of Islam to refusing to fight in Vietnam, Muhammad Ali’s fascinating life is interwoven with historical moments throughout the twentieth century to today.
Using fictional news articles and other documents he creates, Denenberg (Titanic Sinks!) introduces readers to an unvarnished Muhammad Ali. The fabricated headlines, ringside reporting, letters to the editor and man-on-the-street interviews deliver myriad facts and the opinions, moving chronologically through the edgy pugilist's life and career. The author's voice is perhaps heard most clearly in the editorializing commentary of "reporter" Keith Kincaid. His articles for the invented Sportsworld Weekly follow Ali from his gold-medal win in the 1960 Rome Olympics to his shaky Olympic flame lighting in Atlanta in 1996. Reflecting on Ali's life, Kincaid writes, "I had a front-row seat as the big show rolled into town, because no one reflected and refracted the times like Ali did." Contextualizing Ali's story are spreads featuring b&w archival photos and summaries of significant events that shaped the 1960s and 1970s (the March on Washington, the Vietnam War). While Denenberg's unique storytelling format, with its lengthy articles in small newsprint typeface, might be daunting to some, his accessible "reportage" weaves a captivating biography of the iconic sports figure. A timeline and extensive bibliography are included. Ages 8 12.