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The Greatest: Muhammad Ali

The Greatest: Muhammad Ali

4.4 20
by Walter Dean Myers

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Award-winning author Walter Dean Myers presents the amazing story of Muhammad Ali's childhood, his rise as a champion, his politics, and his battles against Parkinson's disease. Packed with dramatic black-and-white photos, this critically acclaimed biography is the perfect choice for both young adult sports fans and fans of Walter Dean Myers in general.


Award-winning author Walter Dean Myers presents the amazing story of Muhammad Ali's childhood, his rise as a champion, his politics, and his battles against Parkinson's disease. Packed with dramatic black-and-white photos, this critically acclaimed biography is the perfect choice for both young adult sports fans and fans of Walter Dean Myers in general.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Every school child should be required to read this outstanding biography from award-winning writer Walter Dean Myers. Ali's accomplishments, both in and out of the ring, present him as a motivated man of principal, willing to take risks to achieve his goals. Myers carefully crafts Ali's tale from his Clay family roots in Louisville, Kentucky, to his struggles today with Parkinson Disease. Myers weaves the events of Ali's personal life with those occurring in our country during the twentieth century, thus providing a look at both Ali and his importance to history. Delving into the civil rights movement, the Nation of Islam, conscientious objector status during the Vietnam war, and the dangers of professional boxing, Myers presents a man of courage and inspiration. Black-and-white photographs, interspersed throughout the text, bring "The Greatest," his life and importance in history to a new generation of readers. Includes a bibliography, fight chronology and index. 2001, Scholastic Press, $16.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Mary Sue Preissner
Mention of Muhammad Ali makes most young people today recall the man named the Greatest Athlete of the Twentieth Century by Sports Illustrated magazine. As a young African American searching for racial pride in the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, Ali's influence extended beyond the boxing ring into arenas of race, politics, and religion. This public Ali touched Myers most. The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement affected Ali's life tremendously. Ali, born Cassius Clay, would not confine his remarks to boxing. In 1964, after becoming world heavyweight champion, he stunned America as he changed his religion and his name, joining the Nation of Islam. Harshly criticized for this affiliation, he openly opposed the Vietnam War and refused to be inducted into the army in 1967. As a result, he was stripped of his heavyweight title and was banned from boxing for two and a half years. Ali came back, but unfortunately, he was not the same. His legs were older, and he could no longer "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!" The Frazier and Foreman fights would exact a tremendous toll, forcing him to adopt the "rope-a-dope" tactic in which he rested against the ropes while his opponent wore himself out swinging. After losing his last boxing match in 1981, Ali faced an even deadlier opponent—Parkinson's disease. Readers will enjoy the fast-paced action, crisp writing, photographs of significant events and personalities, and the vivid fight scenes. Myers paints an unforgettable Ali here. Although the boxer could have taken the easy route, Ali instead exhibited the courage to follow his convictions and his heart, becoming a symbol respected by all races, religions, and ideologies. VOYA CODES: 4Q4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Scholastic, 155p, Photos. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Bill Mollineaux VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-An introduction to Ali's life from his childhood to the present day, focusing on his career and the controversies surrounding him. Both his talent in the boxing ring and his showmanship earned him international fame, while his refusal to accept the stereotypical role of a black athletic star in the 1960s and his membership in the Nation of Islam brought him notoriety. Myers interweaves fight sequences with the boxer's life story and the political events and issues of the day. He doesn't shy away from reporting on the brutality of the sport and documents the toll it has taken on its many stars. Ample black-and-white photographs of the subject in and out of the ring illustrate the book. Covering Ali is a daunting task, especially since dozens of books and hundreds of articles have been written about him in the last 40 years. Fortunately, young adults have their own award-winning author, one with the perspective of being a young African American in Harlem during the height of the boxer's fame, to tell his story. Myers's writing flows while describing the boxing action and the legend's larger-than-life story.-Michael McCullough, Byron-Bergen Middle School, Bergen, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
While this was written with young adult audiences in mind, The Greatest Muhammad Ali is featured here for its wider attraction to any interested in boxing history. This provides a dual focus on the boxer Ali and the hazards of boxing. Black and white photos pepper the account, which does an excellent job of blending boxing history and issues with an overall survey of Ali's life and actions.

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
The Greatest Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.29(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.47(d)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Meet the Author

Walter Dean Myers is the 2012 - 2013 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. He is the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author an award-winning body of work which includes, SOMEWHERE IN THE DARKNESS, SLAM!, and MONSTER. Mr. Myers has received two Newbery Honor medals, five Coretta Scott King Author Awards, and three National Book Award Finalists citations. In addition, he is the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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The Greatest: Muhammad Ali 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Greatest Muhammad Ali is a biography by Walter Dean Myers. I love this book because it tells the life story of the greatest boxer of all time Muhammad Ali. This book takes setting between the 1960's and the present time all over the world like Africa. One of the major conflicts is that Muhammad Ali is an African American who changes his religion to Muslim and people discriminate him. Also he lost his title because he refused to go to war, so he goes to jail because he believes in peace. Another is that he tries to get to the top of the boxing world. Muhammad Ali deals with his conflicts very maturely. When people discriminate him he ignored them. He trained really hard to get to the top of the boxing world. Lastly he fought Joe Frazier to get his popularity back after getting out of jail. But unfortunately he lost. Actually he didn't go to jail he paid a bail. I love the author's style especially when he used famous people's quotes before each chapter. In this book the author chose to use third person point of view. I also loved when the author explained the boxer like when he said "he gave him a quick jab." If you like biographies about boxers you should read this book. If you choose this book you will enjoy the inspiring true life story of Muhammad Ali.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Title of this story is Muhammad Ali. The author was Walter Dean Myers. This book was an okay book. It had some action it seemed but not enough. It needs to be more descriptive.
Fallen17 More than 1 year ago
Because i said so
DHSBRONSON23 More than 1 year ago
So far this is one the best books I ever read. I never thought Mr.Ali went through alot in his life i guess if you come from the bottom you make a big name for yourself and. were Mr.Muhammad is from times were very rough all the of the hate toward the race's and judgement of people and the people telling him he would never make it its kind of hard to stay focus when you have poeple putting down to make you stop chasing your dreams.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BabyGirl69 More than 1 year ago
Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest boxers in the world, and people say it was fun to watch him. This book aout Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest books I have ever read, and I enjoyed it alot. It was about how Muhammad Ali went through rough times in life when he was a kid and fought through it to become one of the most exciting boxers who ever lived. My dad said Muhammad Ali was a good fighter, and he suggested I read it. I'm glad I did because it's the best book I have ever read. I recommend it for readers who enjoy action and also people who lie boxing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book about three days ago and now I'm writing a review about it for school. This book is very good and it is great for anyone who likes boxing or sports in general. The book summarizes Muhammad's life very well and is very informative about the details, like how he faced discrimination and racism and fought through it. Muhammad Ali is an amazing boxer and this book very well tells that to you, about his winnings even though he is a smaller boxer than others. Cassius Clay is also his other name. I think many people would enjoy this book by Walter Dean Myers. Float like a Butterfly Sting like a Bee!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Ali is the champion of the world' Those words are so true. Who can talk more smack than Ali and cover it up by being the champion of the world of boxing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a pretty great book. i liked this book alot because i learned alot of things about Ali that i havent already known about him. Some of those things were that i didnt know that he was used to be cassius clay when he was growin up. the other thing is that he went to the olympics in the 1960's. he was born in kentucky which i never knew and is pretty neat. the great thing about this book is that it tells you about some of his great and wonderful fights that he has won in and lost in. my favorite is 'the rumble in the jungle', thats my favorite fight because it was ali V.S Forman, who were two awesome fighters. i even saw that fight on T.V with my dad. it talks about all of the wonderful fighters at that time as well. i personally love the back of the book where it shows you all of his fights and if he lost or won and where they were at. I reccomend this to any fight fans out there that love the legend and want to learn more about him. if you like boxing read this and learn about the greatest of all times. 'Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee'
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a great biography and Walter Dean Myers really made an outstanding book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
one of the best books i read was called Muhammad Ali by Walter Dean Myers .It was biogrphy on his life .It showed all the people that he had fought he started to fight at a very young age.Ithoght it was a vey good book just because I like to box and it was about Ali. This book was good because it was very detailed.And had a-lot of good facts on it .They showed what he had to go through as a kid .He had to go through some bad things as a young kid. I Would reccomed a lot of people to read this book i think they would enjoy it.But only the ones who like to box would like this book.But even if you did not likt to box you would enjoy this book it tells about more things then boxing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about this boxer name Muhammad Ali and how he came to be The World Heavyweight Champion. His real name was Cassius Clay but until he change¿s his name to Muhammad Ali, because of is religious believe. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky and live in the racism time when the white folks didn¿t like the black folks. When he was tweedy years old he trained for the Olympic games as a heavyweight. After the Olympics he fought some of the toughest fights of his life and conquered all of them. But he struggled though some things while he was fighting. It was the time of War War 2 and that¿s when the government did people to fight in the war. This is when Cassius Clay change¿s name to Muhammad Ali, so when they called his name out they called Cassius Clay but he didn¿t step forward. After a two-day trial in June of 1967, he was found guilty of refusing induction; he was given a maximum of five years of imprisonment and a fine of 10,000. His heavyweight champion was taken away buy the World Boxing Association. The Greatest was undefended, but yet fallen. Ali talked a lot of thrash to his opponent when he was fighting, but Ali stated to change his life and started to think about the world and going to schools and talked about the Muslim rights. Then the World Boxing Association let him go to fight again. When he came back he started to fight for his World Heavyweight Champion. To take the tile he had to fight three boxers. This box is off the chain to read it is very exciting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this story it talk about Muhammad child hood. It started out when Muhammad was a young boy and how he became a boxer. It also tells you about his struggle in life. Before he became Muhammad his name Cassius Clay. When Muhammad first started out he was fighting people out twice his age. When he was eighteen he was knocking people out left and right, that was 25 and up. In the story they called him the Louisiana lip because he was always talking trash to the other fighter that had to fight. In 1961, Muhammad fought eight times and won all of them, six by knockouts. Now Muhammad started to think big. He wanted a chance to win the heavy weight champion world title. While he was winning his fights he said a fares ¿ I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.¿ In one of fights Muhammad beat this one dude badly to the point were he had blood coming from the top of his eye, when the fight he announce that he back in the game. The reason he said that because he left to go to the army but they didn¿t let boxer go to war. After retiring from boxing he develop a disease called Parkinson. Now today Muhammad is still alive with the disease and still going around talking and working with young Kids. Now he has a daughter name Lilia Ali and sees a new star under her daddy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Greatest Muhammad Ali written by "Walter Dean Myers" tells you about how it was for a black man to grow up in the racism and be successful. He did so well all over the world that he got respect from the white crowd. It tells you all the struggles he had while he was fighting and how he went from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali; also how he took it when he got Parkinson's disease. This man was a phenomenon in boxing and you learn that by reading this book. I would not buy the book but get it for a little while from the library. Its not someething you want to read over and over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was about muhammad ali when he was boxing. He was a great fighter and he knocked out a lot of people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was weel writen and ery good.i recomend it very much
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was born on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. He was determined to become the greatest heavyweight fighter in the history of boxing. At just about the age of 32 he joined the Islam religion and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. His life was full of thrills and disappointments including winning world titles, being thrown into jail, being told he could never fight again, and becoming an international icon for young African Americans. Muhammad Ali had a dream. He wanted to become the greatest boxer ever. Muhammad Ali was the only main character in the story The Greatest: Muhammad Ali. He was one of the greatest boxers of all time. His record was 57 wins and 5 losses. He boxed for a total of 21 years. The other people mentioned include Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Black Muslim group, the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, Ali¿s longtime trainer, Angelo Dundee, and some boxers he fought including, Floyd Patterson, Archie Moore, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman. 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.' I chose this passage because this is one of the most memorable sports quotes of all time. The quote explains how Muhammad Ali fought. When he said this he meant ¿he was light on his feet, but he could really pack a punch.¿ I agree with this book because I believe that Muhammad Ali was the greatest boxer of all time. He overcame hardships and he fought through them and he became not only a great boxer, but a great person, also. There were no serious errors with the book. All of the facts about him were correct and all of his fights had correct information. I had never really looked into Muhammad Ali¿s career before reading this fantastic book, but after I read it I went online, read more about him and his life, and I watched some of his boxing matches. I also learned about the sport of boxing a lot more. The book relates to my life because my grandfather used to be a boxer and has been diagnosed with Parkinson Disease just like Muhammad Ali was. My grandfather boxed in the featherweight division.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Greatest-Muhammad Ali is a biography that tells important facts of Ali¿s life and what he went through. One thing this story talks about is Muhammad Ali¿s accomplishments in and out of the boxing ring and how they have earned him a place in history as and inspiring hero to look up to. In this story award winning author Walter Dean Myers tells stories about Ali¿s childhood and what he went through and what he had to do to accept himself and for other people to accept him. Also this story talks about Ali¿s rise as a champion, his politics, and his fight against Parkinson¿s disease. Muhammad Ali lived a great life both inspiring exciting, but he had struggles too just like everyone else in the world. This story didn¿t have many characters but there were some and they all were a part of Muhammad Ali¿s life. To start I¿ll go with the main character, Muhammad Ali. His real name was Cassius Marcellus Clay, and with that name he won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics and then claimed his first title by defeating Sonny Liston in 1964 and then joined the nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He was the all time heavyweight boxing fighter, champion, of the 1960¿s and 1970¿s. He refused to join the military during the Vietnam War so he was sentenced five years in prison, but the Supreme Court reversed it in 1971. Ali suffered Parkinson¿s disease during his retirement, and it was sad but then he got inducted into the boxing hall of fame in 1990 which must have cheered him up. Another character in this story was Jackie Robinson, he was briefly mentioned but I think he was an important character. Jackie Robinson was one of Muhammad Ali¿s heroes. He single handedly broke baseball¿s color barrier. He was the first African American to play major league baseball in the modern era. Only whites were allowed to play in the MLB until 1947 when Jackie Robinson made his first appearance on the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15th of 1947. One other character in this story was Joe Frazier. He was an American Boxer who was basically a rival with Muhammad Ali. They had a running of three matches. Frazier won the first won but Ali won the rematches in 1974 and 1975. Well like I said there aren¿t many characters in this story but these three seem very important and all have a big part in this story. I think the most important passage that Walter Dean Myers has in his story The Greatest- Muhammad Ali is the beginning of chapter six on page 55. ¿The 1960¿s were a turbulent decade, the decade in which the public learned to say no to the government¿s war in Vietnam and to injustice in America, and yes to peace, love, and rock `n¿ roll. What¿s more, most of the real action centered around young people. Young people called ¿flower¿ children in the streets of San Francisco rocked to the raucous sounds of Janis Joplin in the Fillmore West, and marched and marched the streets in the protest against the Vietnam War. Americans who had reached their eighteenth birthday had to register for the draft and were issued draft cards. Antiwar protestors burned their draft cards to show their disapproval of the war in Vietnam. Black people war huge afros, and hippies wore flowers. In the south, African American children marched in the streets along with their elders, and college students sat at lunch waiting to break the barriers of segregation.¿ I feel that this passage was the most important passage for a couple of reasons. It tells how people felt about the Vietnam war back then and helps support the reasoning for Muhammad Ali refusing to join the military because it is weird how he would just refuse to join the military and reading this passage explains how everyone felt and backed up his reasoning for doing that. All people felt differently about this war but the majority of African Americans were against it and did various things to show how they felt. This helps the understanding of the book because Muhammad Ali faced segregation his whole life and so di
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is really good. I would recommend this book to people that like non-fiction books. I think this book could have included a little more about muhammad ali's family because the reader doesnt know much about his family life.