Jonathan Eig’s Ali: A Life breaks bold new ground, revealing Muhammad Ali in the complexity he deserves, shedding important new light on his politics and his neurological condition. Ali is a story about race, about a brutal sport, and about a fascinating man who shook up the world.
He was the wittiest, the prettiest, the strongest, the bravest, and, of course, the greatest (as he told us over and over again). Muhammad Ali was one of the twentieth century’s greatest radicals and most compelling figures. Ali went from being one of the most despised men in the country to one of the most beloved. But until now, he has never been the subject of a complete, unauthorized biography. Jonathan Eig, hailed by Ken Burns as one of America’s master storytellers, breaks new ground and radically reshapes our understanding of the slippery figure who was Muhammad Ali. Eig had access to all the key people in Ali’s life, including his three surviving wives and his managers. He also had access to thousands of pages of new FBI and Justice Department files, as well dozens of hours of newly discovered audiotaped interviews from the 1960s.
Ken Burns calls Jonathan Eig a "master storyteller." Eig is the author of five books, two of them New York Times best sellers. He was born in Brooklyn and graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Eig is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, where he remains a contributing writer. Eig has also written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Slate.com, among others. Prior to The Wall Street Journal, he worked as a feature writer for Chicago magazine and as a news reporter for The Dallas Morning News and The New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Eig has taught writing at Columbia College Chicago and Northwestern. He has spoken to audiences at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, Harvard Medical School, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. His first book, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, won the Casey Award for best baseball book of the year.
Eig has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and in two Ken Burns documentaries: Prohibition and Jackie Robinson. He is currently working with Burns and Florentine Films in making a documentary on Muhammad Ali.