A brilliant and often brutal account of the dual lives of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and the long running feud between them Be prepared to have your previously held opinions challenged, then shattered, by this thought provoking study Set against the backdrop of the Thrilla in Manila , the epic 1975 battle which many aficionados consider the greatest heavyweight fight ever, Ghosts of Manila offers a dramatic insight into the 30 year feud between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier Celebrated American sports journalist Mark Kram has spent nearly the same amount of time preparing to write this book and the result is a hugely impressive piece of research and social history When Ali and Frazier met in Manila for the third act of their trilogy of fights, their rivalry had spun out of control More than a clash of personalities and fighting styles, the rivalry, inflamed by the media, took on overtones of politics and race But in the aftermath of Manila the hype no longer mattered one man was left with a ruin of a life the other was battered to his soul Frazier is now in an advanced state of blindness, still consumed by hate Ali s once agile and powerful body is withered by the grip of Parkinson s disease Kram s book begins with the boxers themselves who they are and were They began as friends, with a genuine, if grudging, respect for each other They were turned into enemies as much by pride as forces over which they had no control Weaving together past and present, Kram explodes the hagiography surrounding both fighters, particularly Ali, and presents the reader with the rarest of literary achievements a psychologically riveting study of two heroes, many myths, and the reality behind it all No one who reads Ghosts of Manila will ever think of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in the same way again ...
|Title||:||Ghosts of Manila: the Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier|
|Publisher||:||HarperCollins Publishers Auflage New Ed 5 August 2002|
|Number of Pages||:||240 Seiten|
|File Size||:||582 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Ghosts of Manila: the Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier Reviews
Although Ghosts of Manilla is ostensibly focused on the 1975 "Thrilla in Manila" in which Muhammad Ali outlasted Joe Frazier in a brutal slugfest, the book really digs into who these men were before boxing, how boxing affected them, and how we should look upon them. Those looking for lots of boxing excitement will probably be disappointed. The fight descriptions are the least well done parts of the book. Those who are looking into what heavyweight boxing is really like will get more than they bargained for. The personal record on Muhammad Ali is dramatically revised downward, and you will again be reminded that boxing is a brutal sport. After the fight, "one left with the ruin of a life, the other battered to his soul." When offered a chance to watch the fight on videotape, Muhammad Ali declined. "I don't wanna look at hell again." The book's stylistic weakness is that the author is very opinionated, and often borders on sarcasm in conveying his views.Mr. Kram has been a boxing reporter for many years, and has had close access to most of the people he writes about in the book. As a result, he can portray his own discussions and observations from a first-hand perspective. He seems to have decided to "tell it like it is" on events that many reporters probably observe but do not comment about in public. On the other hand, he does this telling as tastefully as possible while not pulling his punches.The book is much more about Mr. Ali than about Mr. Frazier. The key themes that are new about Mr. Ali are that he was controlled by the Black Muslims through fear of being killed, had an uncontrolled sexual appetite, did severe damage to the personalities of the black boxers he verbally humiliated, treated one of his daughters poorly, and was an unprincipled self-promoter. The book also covers familiar territory about whether or not he was a hero for resisting the draft, a good role model for young people, and the effect that boxing had on his developing Parkinson's Disease.I learned more about Mr. Frazier than I had known before. The man was an enigma to me at the time of the fight. Now, I think I understand him better. I was sorry to see how bitter he has become, due to his treatment by Mr. Ali and the public.To me, Mr. Ali's appeal lay mostly in his unorthodox fighting style and in his willingness to try new things. Although both attributes are mentioned in the book, I think they were overly downplayed. I never expect boxers to be role models for children. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book was the part that focused on what it meant to people how the heavyweight champion comported himself. That certainly says a lot about our society.After you finish this book, I suggest that you think about how you would have played the cards that were dealt to Mr. Ali and Mr. Frazier. What would you have done differently? What would you have liked to have done differently?Satisfy yourself by meeting your own high standards!
Mark Kram was the perfect journalist to write this book. He spent more time with Ali and Frazier than any other writer. The fact that he is the greatest sports writer ever -- his October, 1975, article for Sports Illustrated (Lawdy, Lawdy, He's Great!," about the Thrilla in Manila -- has for decades been regarded as the best deadline sports article ever written.Unlike most observers, who cannot shake free of Ali's charisma, Kram has seen the sides of Ali that put the lie to much of his public image. His cruelty, in particular to Frazier, but others as well, was savagely cutting. He knew he had a basically inarticulate opponent in Frazier and used that edge to berate a valiant man in ways that are especially cutting to blacks. In particular, his use of the rubber gorilla -- meant to symbolize Frazier in the press conferences in Manila -- was a vicious racial insult. He knew it would infuriate Frazier, who once loaned a broke Ali money while he was suspended for refusing the military draft. Ali did it because it rhymed with "Manila" and "Thrilla," but it cut Frazier to the bone, as did Ali's mendacious portrayal of Frazier as an Uncle Tom. In fact, it was Ali who grew up in a mixed middle class neighborhood in Louisville while Frazier lived the much more authentic black life in the ghettos of Philadelphia.On his reasons for refusing military service, Kram interviewed insiders who revealed the real reason was because Ali just did not want to be around white people. He figured the military would put him in with them, where he was uncomfortable, instead of with the blacks who idolized him. Most of the celebrated quotes attributed to "Ali the Poet" -- including "Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee" and "I got no quarrel with them Vietcong" -- were taken from other people, many from Drew Bundini, a longtime member of his entourage, who never took credit.He became a Black Muslim -- and a tool for their recruitment of other blacks -- but was never an observant follower. He was a well-known womanizer before and after his religious conversion.Kram's book is rich with anecdotes, many observed firsthand, and all researched meticulously. They all are wrapped in Kram's transcendent writing style. Kram does not neglect Ali's good qualities. He was a great fighter -- a headhunter who almost never threw a body punch -- and a clever opponent, as George Foreman learned. He had one of the great chins in boxing history and his ability to take punches often was underestimated. Foreman beat his kidneys so viciously that Ali urinated blood for a week.But he was not the deity many believe him to be. He was a flawed, man, frequently a selfish one, and in many ways a racially prejudiced one. He had the capacity to gentle and fun loving with children and shockingly cruel to people who did not deserve it, including Frazier and his wives.This is a book that shines a much-needed light on a reality lived in shadows.
As others have said, this book is a classic. While it is a flawed classic, its value outweighs its imperfections. Mark Kram was a writer on Sports Illustrated during SI's glory years of the Sixties and Seventies, when SI had assembled an unparalled staff of breathtakingly talented writers such as Kram and Frank Deford, who showed that sportswriting on deadline could be art, not just a commodity. Kram was also something else, as rare in his own time as today; a brutally honest journalist prepared to challenge prevailing myths and narratives. In Ghosts of Manila he destroys the Muhammad Ali myth, the myth being that Ali was far more than a boxer, instead being some sort of world-historical messiah figure, the Gandhi of sports. Kram demonstrates -- from years of intimate first-hand observation -- that Ali was essentially two things: first, the greatest heavyweight boxer of the modern era (post-World War II), and second, a vile hypocrite and ignoramus who was used by others equally vile, but used them back. Among those who used Ali shamelessly were Kram's fellow journalists, for whom he aims some of his most unflinching contempt. Kram dismisses most reporters who covered Ali as nothing more than groupies who wanted to be part of the Ali myth so were complicit in fabricating it. In particular, Kram provides devastating critiques of Howard Cosell and Bryant Gumbel, both of whom cynically and dishonestly used Ali for their own career advancement. The only criticism I have of this remarkable book is that Kram's writing, while often lyrical in its beauty, at times descends into a Faulkneresque stream of consciousness that is more unintelligible than beautiful. As a literary artist at the top of his game, Kram probably resisted a strong editor, but he could have used one. I don't want to overemphasize this point, however. This book is a classic of sportswriting and should be read by anyone who wants a true insider's view of the world of big-time boxing during an historic era, the Era of Ali. It should also be read by anyone who admires a journalist who is not afraid to say the Emperor has no clothes, even when the journalistic herd is leading the parade and shouting the loudest hosannas.
Many will say the 3rd fight between Ali and Frazier,was the best of the trilogy.I watched fights one and three on PPV, the nights theyhappened, and there was a marked difference betweenthe fighters in those few years, both in mind and body.Ali, ever the showman, promoter, trash talker, mind gamesexpert, and above all money maker, did his usual "thing",and as always, when the fight was over, Ali moved on to thenext one.No Harm No Foul.Smokin Joe, was not cut from that same cloth, he was not aglib showman, he did not trash talk, he brought his "work gloves"to the fight, and did the job.Joe, thought Ali crossed many lines in the weeks before this fight,and even said, I am really going to hurt him this time.And Joe kept his word, and really hurt Ali........The problem was, as I said earlier, Ali had changed since the othertwo battles, he had filled out, muscled up, and was just too big for Joeto handle any longer.The punches Joe used to walk through, now slowed him down, stopped himand finally backed him up, as Ali now was stepping into his punches, and notmoving side to side.The fight was controlled by Ali, then Frazier, and again and finally Ali.Joe, never got over, to the day he died, that he was stopped from comingout for a round, in which he would have been KO'ed or worse.That was something he could not forgive, along with Ali's disrespect of him.In today's rules and regs, this fight most likely would never have happened,because of Frazier's vision problems.The book goes on after the Manila fight, and has many other story lines, itis a must read for any boxing fan.Enjoy as you step back to the 1970's.