Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Ali: A Life
Jonathan Eig



The most comprehensive and definitive biography of Muhammad Ali that has ever been published, based on more than 500 interviews with those who knew him best, with many dramatic new discoveries about his life and career.

Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, 2017; shortlisted for the James Tait Black Biography of the Year; winner of the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sport Writing; The Times Sports Book Awards Biography of the Year

Paperback, 640pp, illus
Simon & Schuster, 2018
ISBN 9781471155956


When the frail, trembling figure of Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic flame in Atlanta in 1996, a TV audience of up to 3 billion people was once again gripped by the story of the world’s most famous sporting icon. The man who had once been reviled for his refusal to fight for his country and for his fast-talking denunciation of his opponents was now almost universally adored, the true cost of his astonishing boxing career clear to see. In Jonathan Eig’s ground-breaking biography, backed up with much detailed new research specially commissioned for this book, we get a stunning portrait of one of the most significant personalities of the second half of the twentieth century.

We read about some of the most famous bouts in boxing history; we learn also about his personal life, his finances, his faith and the moments when the first signs of his physical decline began to show. Ali was a symbol of freedom and courage, a hero to many, but this is also a very personal story of a warrior who vanquished every opponent but was finally brought down by his own stubborn refusal to quit. An epic tale of a fighter who became the world’s most famous pacifist, Ali: A Life does full justice to an extraordinary man.

Jonathan Eig is a former senior writer for The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times best-selling author of four other books: Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig; Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First SeasonGet Capone; and, most recently, The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution. He is working on a biography of Martin Luther King Jr.