Magazine February 29, 2016, Issue

The Champ and Mr. X

Cassius Marcellus Clay (Muhammad Ali) with Malcolm X in Harlem, 1964 (John Peodincuk/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith (Basic, 392 pp., $28.99)

‘Not many people,” Malcolm X told the writer George Plimpton in 1964, “know the quality of the mind he’s got in there.” The fiery minister for the Nation of Islam (NOI), head of its Harlem mosque and the sect’s most prominent spokesman, was talking about Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., the strikingly pretty and unrelentingly loquacious 22-year-old boxer from Louisville who was soon to dethrone Sonny Liston, thuggish and frightful, an 8-to-1 betting favorite, as heavyweight champion of the world.

For nearly four years, the period that witnessed Clay’s rise from light-heavyweight Olympic gold to heavyweight title, the public had known him

James Rosen — Mr. Rosen is a reporter for Sinclair Broadcast Group and the editor of A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century (2016), an anthology of essays by William F. Buckley Jr.

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Our Last Emperor

Our system of government does little to prevent a strongman or a crank from winning the presidency. As long as Electoral College members adhere faithfully to the election results in ...


Politics & Policy

Seeing North Korea

North Korea is embarked on a steady, methodical, and relentless journey whose intended endpoint is a credible capability to hit New York and Washington with nuclear weapons. Pyongyang’s nuclear test ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Love and Order

In 2000, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D., N.Y.) was asked to identify the biggest change he had seen in his 40-year political career. Moynihan, a man of unusual wisdom, experience, ...
Politics & Policy

Explorations of Love

Early in this book, material for which originated in a highly successful Notre Dame course now available on iTunesU, philosopher and classicist David O’Connor puts the point of the investigation ...
Politics & Policy

Faith in Hollywood

The last time I wrote about the Coen brothers’ world-picture in these pages, reviewing their Job-in-Minnesota movie, A Serious Man, I suggested that the elusive auteurs were “proudly mysterian” — ...


Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Who knew the Democrats were that picky about which kind of socialist they prefer? ‐ Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees — $225,000 a pop — from Goldman Sachs and other big-deal ...
Politics & Policy


YOUR MOVE “No modern poem was ever as obscure as Miss Sullivan’s naming water water for Helen Keller.” – Walker Percy When a bear hears ice crack he doesn’t listen, He moves.  He doesn’t think ...
Politics & Policy


Timeless Classics Samuel Goldman writes well about the value of “traditional” education (read: classical education) and studying beautiful things (“Reclaiming Traditional Education,” December 31, 2015). He aptly takes on Marco Rubio’s ...


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