GENRE: Non Fiction
TOPICS: Black History, Civil Rights, Society

Redemption Song – Muhammed Ali & Spirit of the Sixties

With the release of the new movie “One Night in Miami” I have returned to this non-fiction classic first published in 1999, by journalist Mike Marqusee. The author charts Ali’s growing interest in politics and the Civil Rights Movement encouraged by his growing relationship with Malcolm X. Set against the background of the domestic upheaval in the USA as well America’s increasing involvement in Vietnam, the book has gone on to be seen as a defining biography of the early years of Ali as he emerges from a national hero to a global superstar. The book asks questions of the role of celebrity and the responsibility of the famous at times of national crisis; these are themes that resonate with celebrity and readers alike.

At no more than 190 pages in length and littered with references to contemporary popular culture and sport, this is one of those books that is easy to engage with as it holds your attention throughout. I bought and read this book when it was first published and I have often returned to and recommended to others over the past 20 years because as its title suggests ‘Redemption Song’ is a story of challenge, liberation and action.

REVIEWED BY: Paul Downer