by Jae, March 1, 2010 3:18 PM
The Fight is Norman Mailer's account of the October 30, 1974, fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in the former Zaire. Mailer numbered among several journalists (George Plimpton, Hunter S. Thompson) who followed Ali and Foreman during the summer they trained there. Mailer had an enviable amount of access, including the chance to accompany Ali on a run, which provides an intimate look at an endlessly fascinating figure bent on recovering his championship title. Follow this book up with the excellent documentary When We Were Kings. A note of caution: Mailer's not a writer of modest proportions; he's prone to excess and much feeling. Throughout, especially in the beginning chapters, there's no avoiding Mailer's overt racist tones toward Africans and African-Americans. He confronts the issue openly, but it only evolves into a less explicit problem of marvel and childlike affection.