Kindred sees Cosell, warts and all, with the clear eyes of a trained observer - and no man had more singular warts than Cosell. The author also expresses love, admiration and awe for his longtime friend Ali. But the dead-on honesty that has characterized Kindred's career, from The Courier-Journal to The Washington Post to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and his many sports books, is reflected in his view of Ali the man, with all his flaws and his inflated narcissism. He is the black man who famously tells the white world, "I don't have to be what you want me to be," and if some innocent and not-so-innocent women and some well-meaning men are blindsided by his runaway hubris, well, Kindred is not afraid to say, that's the price one may have to pay when entering the trajectory of this human meteor.
The New York Times
Veteran sportswriter Kindred seeks to "recover Muhammad Ali from mythology and Howard Cosell from caricature" with interlocking portraits that trace the rising careers of the boxer and the sportscaster to their first meeting in the early 1960s and then through the creation of one of television's most popular bantering couples. Their on-air playfulness didn't necessarily translate into full friendship. Kindred carefully notes that while Cosell supported the heavyweight champion's right to refuse induction into the army during Vietnam, he never expressed support for Ali's actual position. Likewise, Ali knew exactly how the relationship benefited them, once telling Cosell, "You know you need me more than I need you." Kindred's close relationships with both men inform the story without overwhelming it, and he depicts the moments at which he was not present-Cosell's early battles with anti-Semitism in the broadcast industry, Ali's fear that the Nation of Islam would kill him the way they did Malcolm X-with the same immediacy he brings to his eyewitness perspective. There are already many books on Ali, but few independent considerations of Cosell, and none that show so effectively how each man helped create the legend surrounding the other. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Ali and Cosell" has the ring of a vaudeville team, and in a sense they were: the baddest heavyweight champion paired so often on television with the baddest broadcaster. Their stars rose almost simultaneously-Ali and Cosell first met in 1962-and began their downward trajectories at nearly the same time as well. The title chosen by Kindred (Glove Stories), a journalist who has spent many hours with both men, is apropos, as each gained prominence by combining bombast with talent and both Ali, a black man, and Cosell, a Jew, were fueled by internal furies born of dealing with racism. When Ali, born Cassius Clay, converted to Islam and refused to be inducted into the army, Cosell publicly supported him. Kindred shows the symbiotic nature of their relationship, illustrated most perfectly in an interview in which the two argue about whose fame is most dependent on the other's. Not much new ground is covered, but the author does manage to humanize Cosell and to delve deeply into Ali's childlike and often fearful subservience to Elijah Muhammad and the Black Muslims. This is an entertaining read for anyone who grew up with Cosell's ubiquitous TV presence or the chant of "Ali, Ali, Ali." Recommended for medium to large public libraries.-Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Award-winning sports journalist Kindred (Glove Stories, 2002, etc.) captures the spirit of an era in intersecting biographies of two truly irrepressible personalities. The author, who knew both Ali and Cosell, might be accused of forcing them together here, as each has been the subject of numerous other books, including their own. What common bond, after all, could the offspring of Russian-Jewish immigrants to Brooklyn have with a Kentucky sign-painter's son 24 years his junior? Kindred quickly answers this question, and dispels any doubts about his project, with a vast barrage of anecdotes, testimonials and riveting summaries of media events that freeze the essential moments as two ambitious careers collide and meld in a decades-long dance of sometimes brilliant and often shameless mutual exploitation. Immediately after their first encounter in the early 1960s, the bombastic doggerel of Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., a 20-year-old Olympic heavyweight champ turned pro, and the sesquipedalian arrogance of Cosell, an apostate attorney dreaming of a media spotlight as the prototypical sports journalist, became an irresistible attraction for a TV nation hungering for "telling it like it is." With Cosell pushing Clay, soon to rename himself Ali, with intimidating questions about his unorthodox boxing style ("Are you, in fact, afraid of being hit?"), and Clay in turn threatening to snatch off his mock adversary's obvious toupee on camera, the show boomed along into the big time. When Ali turned Muslim draft-resister, Cosell, almost alone, stayed in his corner. As fans of both remember, and Kindred well documents, the lows inevitably came. For example, a past-his-prime Ali suppressing a medicalexam that showed neurologically impaired coordination, only to be pummeled by undefeated champ Larry Holmes. Or Cosell being accosted by frustrated broadcasting partner Al Michaels after downing the better part of a bottle of vodka during a baseball game. Nicely written insider's compendium on the men, their times and TV's impact on sports.
"This book has it all: a great idea, the perfect writer, and two extraordinary charactersAli and Cosellwhose interconnected lives changed the way we think about sports and society." David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered
"The best books combine a compelling story, superb reporting, and wonderful writing. In Sound and Fury, Dave Kindred has produced all three elements. This is a book that needs to be read and reread to appreciate just how good it is." John Feinstein, author of Caddy for Life and Last Dance
"Cosell and Ali: it's impossible to think of one without the other. This dynamic look at two outsized personalities is as unique as was their relationship. Ali and Cosell created a form of synergy that transformed the world they dominated. But the triumph here is Kindred's. His prose floats like a butterfly. His reporting, telling it like it is, stings like a bee. Kindred by a knockout." Jane Leavy, author of Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy and Squeeze Play
"In this terrific book, Dave Kindred has not only invented a new form, he has set the platinum standard. Even things I thought I knew about Cosell and Ali are richer here. Sound and Fury is a shrewd, hilarious, and eventually heartbreaking journey into the nooks and crannies of their lives, surprising even for me, and I was there." Robert Lipsyte, author of The Contender and The Brave
"I love Muhammad Ali, and I absolutely love this book. It portrays Ali at his most glorious, most flawed, and most heroic. Dave Kindred's Sound and Fury will be the classic Ali biography for generations to come. Plus, there's Howard Cosell agitatin'. What could be more fun?" Michael Wilbon, cohost of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption
"Two great American lives demand a great American storyteller. Dave Kindred tells the entwined sagas of Ali and Cosell with depth, feeling, and an indomitable humanity." Charles P. Pierce, author of Hard to Forget: An Alzheimer's Story and Sports Guy
"A fine book, honest and carefully reported." Jimmy Breslin
"As much a social history of our times as it is a biography of two of our most formidable cultural giants, Sound and Fury emerges clearly as a read quite as important as it is poignant and riveting." Bill Nack, author of My Turf: Horses, Boxers, Blood Money, and the Sporting Life and longtime contributor to Sports Illustrated
"We thought we knew everything there was to know about Muhammad Ali, but Kindred tells us more. We knew next to nothing about the man behind the facade that was Howard Cosell, and Kindred tells us everything." Thomas Hauser, author of Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times