Greatest of All Time: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali (Taschen)
A BUTTERFLY, STING LIKE A BEE...
Ali is a national treasure. His larger than life legacy and seismic impact
on popular culture both as a champion prize fighter and social leader places
him in that timeless tapestry of baseball, Mickey Mouse and apple pie.
remarkable new book, Greatest of All
Time: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali (Taschen/$150) strips away the
mythology surrounding the world famous boxer and presents a career defining
museum quality tome that details the life and times of this unforgettable
icon. Initially released in 2003 as a highly sought limited edition signed
by Ali, which retailed for several thousand dollars, a more affordable, but
no less beautifully presented version, has just been published.
over 650 pages, one is first knocked out and dazzled by the whole package, a
sumptuous compendium of over 1000 eye-popping visuals and art and engrossing
text. Impeccably designed, the handsome oversized hardback tome unveils its
magic like a brilliant Technicolor film immersing you into the life of the
celebrated pugilist. Showcasing the work of primary photographers, long-time
Ali friend and colleague, Howard L. Bingham and Neil Leifer along with a
succession of other esteemed photographers and artists including Andy
Warhol, Leroy Neiman and Annie Leibovitz, the book is literally teeming with
spectacular images, art and vintage memorabilia (news
clippings, boxing posters, various ephemera) charting his pre-Ali career as up and coming
boxer Cassius Clay to his standing as a global superstar.
Illuminating essays charting Clay's rise, his Olympic gold medal win, early
fights as a professional boxer, his surprise conquering heavyweight title
win over Sonny Liston through his stunning “mano a mano” heavyweight clashes
with the likes of arch rival Joe Frazier (Ali likened their final fight,
better known as the "Thrilla In Manila", to his closest call with death),
George Foreman, Ernie Terrell, George Cooper, Ken Norton, Leon Spinks and
Breathtaking aerial color photographs of Ali's rematch with Sonny Liston who
he KO'ed in the first round (its iconic image gracing the book's front
cover) are so intimate, they’re infused with the miraculous power of
ushering you into the confines of the smoky Bangor, Maine arena providing a
unique "fly on the wall" perspective. Powerfully evocative photographs of
then Cassius Clay clowning with newfound pop stars The Beatles at a
Miami Beach training session circa February 1964 offer a glimpse of his
playful spirit while the striking 1968 Esquire cover image of a "bleeding"
Ali, arrows in chest, signify the major public struggles he faced as a
result of his refusal to be inducted into the Army on religious grounds. And
those are just a few of the scores of the magnificent and impactful images
that frame this monumental work.
the intoxicating allure of the arresting visuals on bountiful display is the
revelatory and informative text peppered throughout. Extensive interviews
with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton,
Floyd Patterson, Ali's right-hand men, Angelo Dundee and Ferdie Pacheco,
famed sports commentator and long-time Ali ally, Howard Cosell, Roots author Alex Haley and boxing promoter Don King are included. Additionally,
the book's text is rounded out by incisive essays penned by renowned scribes
George Plimpton, Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer and On The
Waterfront screenwriter Budd Schulberg, each offering their own enticing
kernels of reasoned historical perspective and illuminating insight on Ali.
a sports or biography per se, the tome also investigates the boxer's life
outside of the ring, from his controversial conversion to Islam to his being
stripped of his title on religious grounds at the height of his boxing
prowess to his enduring role as a symbol for social and political change.
one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen, both in its
breathtaking aesthetic presentation and
of All Time provides
an essential window into the remarkable life and career of Muhammad Ali and
truly befits the talent and charisma of this national treasure. One thing's
for sure, there'll never be another like him again, he was truly the
Greatest of All Time.
G.O.A.T. is a knockout and comes highly recommended.
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Posted: October 10, 2010.