From Publishers Weekly
Few lives have been more zealously recorded in movies, photography and literature than Ali's. So it's fortunate that this book is not so much a memoir as a collection of the supreme athlete's spiritual contemplations. Structured as a series of minichapters on abstract virtues—love, friendship, peace, wisdom, understanding, respect, etc.—it consists of Ali's religious reflections, buttressed by personal anecdotes, Sufi parables, aphorisms, personal letters and poetry. What might be seen as mawkish or cloying from someone less universally beloved has real poignancy coming from boxing's brashest champion ("The Mouth" was one of his many nicknames), who is slowly being driven behind a wall of silence by Parkinson's. The book has the intensity of a deathbed confessional. Ali is settling his accounts, apologizing to Joe Frazier and Malcolm X for hurting them. But primarily he is giving advice to his many children, for whom he obviously feels an overwhelming love. (His daughter Hana addresses her love for her father directly in the book.) Besides Ali's love, readers will be struck by his remarkable faith. With the Black Muslims, he found not only an expression of his own pride in being black but also a personal relationship with Allah, which served as the wellspring for the remarkable courage he displayed both inside ("The Rumble in the Jungle") and outside (refusing the Vietnam draft) the ring. It's hard not to be moved by Ali's spirit. Photos.
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Muhammad Ali's memoir focuses largely on his spiritual evolution from his childhood to his years as a boxing star, through fatherhood and into his role as a Parkinson's disease advocate and peace activist. Ali shows a depth to his character that is not reflected well in the late Ossie Davis's reading, which is largely one-dimensional in its portrayal of Ali as egocentric and a bit slow. Ali's simple prose is sprinkled with his boxing poetry, some read by Davis and some read by Ali's daughter Hana. Hana's reading is a bit forced, with the exception of a heartfelt letter to her dad she reads at the book's conclusion. Ali has a lot of interesting things to say and a solid philosophy toward life, but his ideas are diluted by a lackluster reading. H.L.S. 2005 Audie Award Finalist © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine