Ali lights the torch at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Redemption Song is 40% off through Sunday, March 5th. Click here to activate the discount.
When Mike Marqusee passed away in January 2015 at the age of sixty-two, I wrote the following in pages of The Nation:
I’m a sportswriter because Mike Marqusee made me one. I divide my life not “before and after I had kids” or “before and after I moved out of my mom’s house in New York City” but “before and after I read Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties in 1998. Not only did Redemption Song rediscover quotes, speeches and dimensions of Ali’s politics and personality that had long been buried, but it revealed to me that sportswriting could be something different and even something dangerous.
On Friday 23rd December the UN passed a resolution demanding a stop to Israeli settlement in the occupied territories as, in a shock move, the US refused to veto the resolution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exploded, calling it a 'declaration of war' (having recently been granted a $38 billion military aid package by the US), and Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Israel's approach to the peace process. But with Trump tweeting that Israel should 'stay strong' until his inauguration, progress still seems unlikely.
Verso presents a list of books from Israeli, Palestinian, and anti-imperialist authors, to explain the conflict and provide some perspectives on the future.
Muhammad Ali died earlier this month on 3rd June, aged 74. In tribute to his fearless courage, in the ring and in politics, we publish this adapted excerpt from Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties by Mike Marqusee.
(Muhammad Ali at the 1960 Summer Olympics. Via Wikimedia Commons.)
On 25 February 1964, Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston to become heavyweight champion of the world. This against-the-odds victory was one of the shocking upheavals characteristic of the era, a surprise that compelled people to reconsider their assumptions. The triumph of the underdog, and with it the confounding of bookmakers and experts, is one of the most visceral thrills sports have to offer; it brings with it a combined sense of disorientation and unsuspected possibility, feelings which were to be intensified by Clay’s actions outside the ring in the days that followed.