This is it. The final round. Author Jonathan Eig stands among a crowd of thousands to say goodbye to the man who shook up the world. This is the funeral for the World’s Greatest, and the end of Chasing Ali.
Even in a visual age of endless television programming and instantaneous online streaming, audio programming has gotten its own stylish makeover. Podcasts draw in millions of monthly listeners, giving storytelling a new outlet, one that BIO member, Jonathan Eig, recognized as a useful marketing too. Biographers International Organization reports on Eig's resourcefulness, and why podcasts might just be the car "radio" of the future.
Most people collect baseball cards or stamps, but author Jonathan Eig collected Muhammad Ali. From stories, to photos, to coveted memorabilia, this author has an inside look into Ali’s life, and a Heavyweight Champion token that few have come by. Visit ChasingAliPodcast.com for additional content and resources.
Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), the recently departed, self-styled greatest, gets an appropriately outsized—and first-rate—biography. Ali, who began boxing as a professional nearly 60 years ago, was not exposed to much in the way of literature early on; he complained that his own supposed autobiography "made me look like a fool" and added that, after all, he'd "never read a book in my life." However, as Wall Street Journal contributor Eig (The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, 2014, etc.) makes clear, Ali was possessed of a certain kind of poetic genius on top of a gift for self-appreciation to which layers of legend would be added. As an instance of that mythologizing, it is certain that when facing the draft in 1966, Ali said, "I ain't got no quarrel with the Viet Cong"—but the more commonly quoted rejoinder, "No Viet Cong ever called me nigger," was added on, something that African-American protestors had said of the Vietnam War before Ali's number came up. In charting Ali's life, which was marked by plenty of personal difficulty but by a relatively comfortable upbringing, Eig observes that he seldom shied from controversy but, though reviled by some for becoming a Black Muslim and for some of his well-aired public statements, was also widely recognized for his talent. The opponent he beat in his first professional fight as an 18-year-old Cassius Clay, a West Virginia police chief, said, "He's a very good boxer for a kid; best I've met for a boy just starting out." Other opponents would have similarly high regard, though not without talking a lot of smack. Eig does a fine job of covering all the bases, and though the book is occasionally overwritten, it's only out of enthusiasm for his undeniably great subject, about whom the author is now working with Ken Burns to develop a documentary. An exemplary life of an exemplary man who, despite a few missteps, deserves to be remembered long into the future.
Muhammad Ali is known as “The World’s Greatest,” but not every boxing aficionado agrees. Jonathan Eig breaks down Ali’s three stages of fighting and why his final boxing tactic might have been his biggest mistake.
Muhammad Ali’s brain scans show troubling signs to modern neurologists. But is there any way to look back and trace the damage itself? Author Jonathan Eig looks for answers and uncovers shocking statistics. The fatal effects of Ali’s commitment to his sport are told in this week’s episode.
Every athlete needs a pump-up playlist, even the World's Greatest. To get yourself psyched for the day, that big conference call at lunch, and the release of Ali: A Life, listen to Jonathan Eig's Muhammad Ali-inspired playlist. Get down with legendary artists Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and even recordings of Ali himself. Available now on Spotify through the link below.
Author Jonathan Eig keeps an eye on eBay while he writes, looking for Muhammad Ali memorabilia. As a collector of Ali’s cologne and bed sheets, when he saw a listing for Ali’s record player, he had to have it. Listen to how a childhood record player unlocked a hidden story of the later years of The World’s Greatest.
"A warm, compelling portrait of a winsomely enduring man. Eig's richly impressive roster of interviews informs an authoritatively critical biography that is always both punchy and sure-footed."—David J. Garrow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross and Rising Star.
"Finally Muhammad Ali has a biography as big, complex, and memorable as the man himself—as close as any book can come. From panoramic views of Ali's place in racial, political, and cultural conflicts, to gripping accounts of his fights, to vivid close-ups of his outsized personality and relationships based on new sources, Ali will fascinate you from beginning to end."
—T.J. Stiles, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Custer's Trials and The First Tycoon
"Some people want to grow up to be an astronaut. Or maybe even president. Or heavyweight champion of the world. I always wanted to be a story teller. The hardest story to tell is one that’s been told and told well before. In ALI, Jonathan Eig, a fearless reporter, as relentless on his turf as Muhammad Ali ever was within the ring, has taken on one of 20th century America’s biggest, baddest, most important stories and told it bigger and badder than it’s ever been told before. ALI: A LIFE floats like a butterfly and stings likes a bee. Stop the fight. It’s over. Eig in a knockout." —Jane Leavy, New York Times best-selling biographer of Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle.
Ali is a tour de force! It is an independent, insightful and masterful assessment of ‘The Greatest!’ Eig’s biography puts flesh and bone on Ali’s fuller humanity. It is a must read for sports fans, boxing fans, students of American history, culture and religion.”--Dr. Randal Maurice Jelks, professor of American Studies and African American Studies, University of Kansas.
$1,000. That was Rahman Ali’s price for one answer about his older brother, Muhammad. Thankfully, Jonathan Eig’s persistence and connection with Ali’s manager, Gene Kilroy, earned him an interview with Rahman, and a closer look into the personal life of Muhammad Ali.