Sport can offer catharsis in times of crisis, but not this time. Liston was a mob fighter with a criminal past, and rumours were spreading that Clay was not just a noisy, bright-eyed boy blessed with more than his share of the craziness of youth, but a believer in a shadowy cult: the Nation of Islam. Instead of a hero and a villain, boxing had served up two bad guys.
Against this backdrop of political instability, of a country at war with itself, in a time when ordinary African American people were still being maimed and killed for the smallest acts of defiance, Liston and Clay sought out their own individual destinies. Liston and Ali follows the contrasting paths these two men took, from their backgrounds in Arkansas and Kentucky through to that sixteen-month period in 1964 and 1965 when the story of the world heavyweight championship centred on them and all they stood for. Using original source material, it explores a riveting chapter in sporting history with fresh insight and in rare detail.
Skyhorse Publishing, 2013