Trade Ed. Brilliance Audio 1998
CS ISBN $24.95 Four cassettes
CD ISBN 978-1-59600-107-7 $16.99 Five CDs
MP3-CD ISBN 978-1-4233-0113-4 $24.95 One MP3-CDs
DD ISBN $24.95
Not since Jack Johnson has a black fighter received such public vituperation during his heyday as Muhammad Ali. Now that the champ is disabled with Parkinson's the media are erring in the opposite direction. This biography brings welcome perspective, reducing the mythical saint to human proportions. Not that doing so diminishes Ali's greatness as a fighter or even his achievements out of the ring--quite the opposite. Michigan actor Dick Hill gives a superb reading of a tasteful abridgment. He adopts a thoroughly masculine sound, befitting his subject, but stopping short of the sportscaster's swagger. Every line-reading tells. Furthermore, he imbues the many quotes from eyewitnesses, Ali included, with personality. He impersonates so many disparate characters, mostly barely literate tough guys and ethnics, that avoiding caricature is nearly impossible. But he manages always to stay within the bounds of good taste while making each person distinctive. Speaking of taste, the book contains the obligatory descriptions of pugilistic bloodletting that delights fight fans and revolts everyone else. Hill communicates the excitement of these passages without the usual sadistic glee. This reviewer has not heard this narrator before, but just on the strength of this tape, Hill gets our vote for a profile in AudioFile. There are many flashier performances on audiotape, but few better. Y.R. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award ©AudioFile, Portland, Maine [Published: FEB/MAR 99]
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