Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pg. 99: Michael Ezra's "Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon by Michael Ezra.

About the book, from the publisher:
Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) has always engendered an emotional reaction from the public. From his appearance as an Olympic champion to his iconic status as a national hero, his carefully constructed image and controversial persona have always been intensely scrutinized. In Muhammad Ali, Michael Ezra considers the boxer who calls himself “The Greatest” from a new perspective. He writes about Ali’s pre-championship bouts, the management of his career and his current legacy, exploring the promotional aspects of Ali and how they were wrapped up in political, economic, and cultural “ownership.”

Ezra’s incisive study examines the relationships between Ali’s cultural appeal and its commercial manifestations. Citing examples of the boxer’s relationship to the Vietnam War and the Nation of Islam—which serve as barometers of his “public moral authority”—Muhammad Ali analyzes the difficulties of creating and maintaining these cultural images, as well as the impact these themes have on Ali’s meaning to the public.
Read an excerpt from Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

Michael Ezra is Chair of the American Multicultural Studies Department at Sonoma State University.

The Page 99 Test: Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon.

--Marshal Zeringue