Cover image for Muhammad Ali : trickster in the culture of irony
Muhammad Ali : trickster in the culture of irony
Lemert, Charles.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK : Polity Press ; Malden, MA : Distributed in the USA by Blackwell Pub., 2003.
Physical Description:
215 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1132.A44 L46 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This absorbing book unravels the reasons for the enduring respect and reverence that Muhammad Ali commands long after the end of his athletic career. It will appeal to those teaching and studying cultural studies, social theory, sports studies, and sociology, as well as to general readers interested in Muhammad Ali.

A probing account of Muhammad Ali's life, which also examines the man's celebrity and his importance in global history.
The first book to unravel the reasons for the enduring respect and reverence that Muhammad Ali commands long after the end of his athletic career.
Traces the key controversies and significant events, from Ali's first announcement of his membership in the Nation of Islam, through his courageous refusal to fight in Vietnam, to his spiritual calm in the face of crippling disease.
Offers an original and compelling theory of the celebrity in postmodern society.

Author Notes

Charles Lemert is Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

A strategic postmodernist, Lemert (sociology, Wesleyan Univ.) has written or edited several important studies, including Postmodernism Is Not What You Think (CH, Feb'98) and Dark Thoughts: Race and the Eclipse of Society (2002). Part of the new series "Celebrities," the present title is not a biography of Ali but instead an essay that seeks to explain the continuing admiration that people all over the world have for him. Lemert examines the boxer as the trickster hero whose life has been a series of misunderstood ironies. Despite the book's brevity, Lemert gets sidetracked, as with nine pages on the history of the Congo. In some ways, the book is more about Lemert than Ali. Though it includes notes and illustrations, the volume is not based on any notable research, and it is marred by factual errors, particularly ages (even Ali's) and dates (on the same page Joe Louis is cited as winning the championship in 1934 and 1937). For a more authoritative biographical treatment, readers will want David Remmick's King of the World. Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero (CH, Jun'99). ^BSumming Up: Not recommended. S. A. Riess Northeastern Illinois University

Table of Contents

1 From the Beginnings : GG is Gonna Whip Everybody
2 Celebrity, Tricks, and Culture: Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee
3 Trickster Queers the World: I Don't Have to Be What You Want Me to Be
4 The Irony of Global Cultures: No Viet Cong ever Called me Nigger
5 Coming Home to the Heart of Darkness: When we were Kings
6 Trickster Bodies and Cultural Death: You'll Die One Day So Better Get ReadyAli and the World: A Chronology