King of the World

David Remnick

King of the World



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Born Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali was not only a world class boxer, but also a leading activist for African American rights, and the anti-Vietnam war movement in 1960’s America. His career began at a young age, and was influenced by other boxing legends Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson, as well as political activist Malcom X. His religious beliefs also shaped him, and often led to controversy both in and out of the ring. Editor of The New Yorker DavidRemnick tells the story of the self-made hero in his epic book King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero. 

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Analysis and key concepts


To understand Muhammad Ali, you must first understand America’s social background


Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston: two key players whose boxing career ran parallel to Muhammad Ali


Cassius Clay was one of the very few boxers who were middle class


Clay’s world title bout was jeopardised by his religious beliefs


Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali after he converted to Islam


Muhammed Ali got into the ring once more with Sonny Liston, and fought world champ Floyd Patterson


Muhammad Ali is also known for refusing the draft and standing against the Vietnam war




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Take an in depth look at the life of American hero and legend, Muhammad Ali.
  • Gain a broad overview of boxing in America during the 1960’s.
  • Appreciate the impact this charismatic boxing champion ultimately had over both politics and religion in American society.

David Remnick is an American writer, journalist, and editor. After graduating magna cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in Comparative Literature, Remnick began his career in journalism as the Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post. He subsequently went on to become editor of The New Yorker magazine, a role he has held since 1998. Over the years, he has published several books, including: Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994, King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero and in 2010 he released, The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama.

Publishing house:

Vintage Books