When asked to review this book, the first thing that went through my head was, ‘Not another Ali book!!’ However, I was pleasantly surprised how much of a genuine page-turner this turned out to be for Norman Giller’s 99th offering to the world of book writing.
The Ali Files goes through each and every one of Ali’s fights in a format that is great for a holiday book, a train ride or whatever your timeframe allows. Each fight is documented with statistics of venues, dates, weights and purses and includes dialogue about each contest. The golden nuggets come after each fight, when you have the pleasure of reading a quote from Ali, an eyewitness (which varies from being his opponent, Angelo Dundee or someone else of importance who was there on the day), and also a paragraph about, ‘Whatever happened to (the opponent)?’ The latter proved to be very interesting indeed. Do you know whatever happened to Cleveland Williams or Oscar Bonavena?….. Also – did you know Ali was the grandson of a slave?
I picked up on a few errors such as the wrong years were quoted on pages 16 and 124, but as a writer myself, I will be the first to put my hands up and say ‘As hard as you try, there will always be errors in some form’. What’s most important is that the body of work is strong enough to distract you from minor hiccups, and this book certainly pays tribute to that strength. You won’t learn a great deal more about Ali the person, but you will about him as the boxer and it was a pleasure to relive each and every bout. I wondered if Giller did contemplate mentioning the computerised fight between Ali versus Marciano?….
Overall – certainly worth the purchase.