Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 97%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $61.33   
  • Used (3) from $1.99   


Sports / American studies / African American Studies
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

According to Ezra (American multicultural studies, Sonoma State Univ.), more has been written about Muhammad Ali than about anyone else in history. Ezra's contribution explores how Ali's cultural status has always been determined by who has been making money off of him. First, as Cassius Clay, he was the brash but lovable "Louisville Lip," guided to the heavyweight championship by the beneficent (and white) Louisville Sponsoring Group. Then his star fell as he came under the control of the Nation of Islam. And, finally, his image has been reconstructed under the direction of his wife, Lonnie, and with the help of what Ezra sees as sycophantic biographers. Scholars will appreciate Ezra's work, with its plethora of footnotes and paucity of ring action, more than Joe Fight Fan may. In the end, this book increases our understanding of how difficult it is to know the real Ali, a simple man paradoxically imbued with great complexity. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-
—Jim Burns

From the Publisher
“Muhammad Ali is a terrific book. Disciplined, convincing, equipped to deliver on his bold and original thesis, Michael Ezra makes fresh sense not only of Ali as cultural icon and historical figure but of the vast Ali literature and mythos that surrounds him.”
—Carlo Rotella, Boston College, author of Cut Time: An Education at the Fights
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592136612
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2009
  • Series: Sporting Series
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Ezra is Chair of the American Multicultural Studies Department at Sonoma State University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Why Another Book about Muhammad Ali? 1

Part I Louisville Sponsoring Group

Louisville's Favorite Son: The Professional Debut 7

Choosing Management: The Courtship of Cassius Clay 14

The Early Bouts, 1961-1962 29

Clay vs. Moore: The Seminal Text 40

The Most Hated Man in Boxing? The Early Bouts, 1963 49

Damage Control through Moral Authority: The Louisville Sponsoring Group's Specialty 62

The Relationship between Cassius Clay and the Louisville Sponsoring Group: A Summary 67

The Commercial Elements of Clay-Liston I 80

Part II Nation of Islam

Main Bout Inc.: How Commerce Affects Culture 93

Carving Out Moral Authority: Ali's Race Man Phase 120

Part III Good People

Forty Years of Ali: The Making of an Icon 137

The Legacy of Ali's Exile and the Nation of Islam 139

The Prodigal Son Returns 148

King of the World: The Consequences of Monarchy 154

Death of a Salesman 160

Lonnie Ali: The Savior 164

Thomas Hauser: The Literary Rehabilitation of Ali's Legend 167

Olympic Torch: From Literature to Television 175

Beyond Moral Authority: The Apotheosis of Muhammad Ali 182

Culture Meets Commerce: The Muhammad Ali Center, Naming Rights, and the Price of Moral Authority 186

The Backlash: Exploring Contradictory Meanings of Ali 194

Notes 199

Index 229

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)