I picked this up after seeing this in the bookstore and realizing that I didn't know as much as I would like about the two subjects and this would be an interesting way to learn about both of these men and as well as their relationship with each other.
There is a lot in here to digest, for me. it sort feels like a survey of a variety of subjects. They touch on the history of boxing, Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, the relationship with boxing and television along with black nationalism, the Nation of Islam and disagreements with the civil rights movement. A book on any of these subjects alone could be written.
A number of things stood out to me. One of them being how much Ali became a master of controlling how he was seen. In the professional world he crafted his brand, it seems one of the first modern athletes to do so. He wore tee shirts with his name embroidered on them and purposefully became a "heel." I love his interaction with Gorgeous George. But, because of all the factions that wanted him to be a specific thing to further there own aims, Ali had to be a face dancer: someone who wore many masks. To the public he was one thing, around his NOI cohorts he was another and wore an entirely different one with Malcolm.
Tension, lies and corruption within the Nation play a huge part in the story and machinations maneuver both men to make some tough choices. At the end all of the Nation's members have to choose between faith and Malcolm.
A felt the axe hanging over Malcolm's head for the three or four chapters preceding. Things for just weren't going well. I was gutted by the chapter that dealt with his death.
Really loved the epilogue. It's amazing how much they impacted each other considering how short of time they knew each other.
One of the interesting takeaways for me was that the authors say that Ali didn't wasn't really confrontational, which took a bit for me to wrap my head around because his public persona of the Louisville Lip, the trash talker, seems to inherently confrontational. But, for him I suppose that more of a performance where he felt in control of the major factors, I suppose.