HarperNonFiction has brought forward the publication of a tribute to sports figure Muhammad Ali following the boxer's death on Friday (3rd June).
The acquisition of the book, Muhammad Ali: A Tribute to the Greatest, by Pulitzer prize nominee Thomas Hauser, was announced in October. Following the news of Ali's death on Friday, HarperNonFiction will now publish the hardback on Thursday 16th June. The audiobook is published today (9th June) while the e-book was published yesterday (8th June).
Ali was an American Olympic and professional boxer and activist and remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion, winning the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. In 1984, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
In the book, a companion volume to Hauser's seminal biography Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times (Portico), Hauser provides an updated retrospective of Ali’s life. Relying on personal insights, interviews with close associates and other contemporaries of Ali, and memories gathered over the course of decades on the cutting edge of boxing journalism, Hauser explores Ali in detail inside and outside the ring.
According to the publisher: "Muhammad Ali attained mythical status. But in recent years, he has been subjected to an image makeover by corporate America as it seeks to homogenise the electrifying nature of his persona. Hauser argues that there has been a deliberate distortion of what Ali believed, said, and stood for, and that making Ali more presentable for advertising purposes by sanitising his legacy is a disservice to history and to Ali himself.
"A Tribute to the Greatest strips away the revisionism to reveal the true Ali, and, through Hauser’s assembled writing and hitherto unpublished essays, recounts the life and ultimate death of a man universally recognised as a unique and treasured world icon".
Polly Osborn, publicity director at HarperNonFiction, said: "The bulk of the book had already been written as it covers Ali’s whole life but there were more recent chapters added in last few months. Given the book is a tribute to his career and influence, we felt that this week was a fitting time to get the book out to the public and have rushed through publication."
Jack Fogg, publishing director ar HarperCollins, acquired UK rights to the book from Scott Mendel at the Mendel Media Group.
Hauser said: "Charles Dickens wrote, 'Man is but mortal. There is a point beyond which human courage cannot extend.' Muhammad Ali challenged that notion."
Fogg said: ‘It’s a privilege to be publishing a book which marries unrivalled insight with award-winning writing from Thomas Hauser, Ali’s official biographer. Muhammad Ali: A Tribute to the Greatest gives us a chance to reflect on the incredible life of one of the most iconic sportsmen the world has ever seen."