• Blood Brothers

  • The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X
  • By: Randy Roberts, Johnny Smith
  • Narrated by: David Drummond
  • Length: 13 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (234 ratings)

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Blood Brothers  By  cover art

Blood Brothers

By: Randy Roberts,Johnny Smith
Narrated by: David Drummond
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Publisher's Summary

In 1962, boxing writers and fans considered Cassius Clay an obnoxious self-promoter, and few believed that he would become the heavyweight champion of the world. But Malcolm X, the most famous minister in the Nation of Islam - a sect many white Americans deemed a hate cult - saw the potential in Clay, not just for boxing greatness but as a means of spreading the Nation's message. The two became fast friends, keeping their interactions secret from the press for fear of jeopardizing Clay's career. Clay began living a double life - a patriotic "good Negro" in public and a radical reformer behind the scenes. Soon, however, their friendship would sour, with disastrous and far-reaching consequences.

Based on previously untapped sources, from Malcolm's personal papers to FBI records, Blood Brothers is the first book to offer an in-depth portrait of this complex bond. Acclaimed historians Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith reconstruct the worlds that shaped Malcolm and Clay, from the boxing arenas and mosques to postwar New York and civil rights-era Miami.

©2016 Randy Roberts and John Matthew Smith (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A page-turning tale from the 1960s about politics and sports and two proud, extraordinary men whose legacies endure." ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about Blood Brothers

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

this book cast Dark Shadows on to be loved figures

This book provided some insight and facts about these men's daily lives. It also projects evil motives and suggests their thoughts. Muhammad Ali is presented as an ignorant but shrewd performer. Malcolm X is presented as a manipulative man hungry for power. I do not ascribe to either these views.

18 people found this helpful

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Biased and Stereotyping Narrative

I can't understand how someone can stereotype with words like "disguise and dissemblance have been integral part of African American culture" to claim that Cassius Clay and Malcolm X were deceptive people and still earn praise for their book. While the book was filled with interesting little known facts, it was biased with opinions of the author assigning feelings and thoughts to the two men in addition to assigning characteristics to them because of their race.

There were things about lives of both Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X that I did not know about. I think if the author had approached the two men's character with the complexity that they embodied instead of stereotyping them for their race, I would have been more inclined to reccomend the book.

12 people found this helpful

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Interesting story

Littered with little known facts, this story drags along to its ultimate end. The author seems to mix these truths with his biased opinions.

10 people found this helpful

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Interesting take on a 5-year period in two famous lives

There are a lot of books, movies and other sources out there on these two men, but this is the story of five tumultuous years that they were at the center of. Definitely offers a new take - and, in part, a takedown - of their lives. Certainly an expose of rampant corruption and criminality within the NOI. The author accuses the NOI of orchestrating Malcolm X's murder and also hints at some complicity on the part of the FBI.

I thought that the narration was good overall, but with a couple major flaws that were annoying. This is a well-done production, the producers and narrator should make sure that they are pronouncing words correctly, including Accra (e-krah, emphasis on the second syllable) and reporter Dick Schaap's last name, rhymes with chap not chop. Finally, imitating Ali is always fraught with peril and the narrator has to attempt it on several occasions. As Ali's onetime fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco once said, "if you say it, you sound childish; if he says it's funny."

Other than those minor problems a worthwhile listen.

3 people found this helpful

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Eye opening Revelations of 2 Brothers

I absolutely loved it. Very realistic adaptation of 2 Brothers lives and relationship, during turbulent times for African Americans. Detailed and personal depiction about a faithful association between two separate spirits; who came together for the sake of their people. Both traveling on the same path, but a fork in the road lead each to different destinations. Ultimately at the end for both their philosophical ideologies are respected and revered by the masses. Great read for all!

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent and Revelaing

A phenomenal book by Randy Roberts, who also wrote a great book about Jack Johnson. Even though I've read maybe a dozen books about Ali, I still learned a lot. The book also reveals some interesting elements of the Nation of Islam and the relationship between Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. And it reveals the role the FBI played in the eventual dispute between them.

2 people found this helpful

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This is a must read

I loved this book. It is told without the biased sensationalism that most exhibit one way or another when discussing Malcolm or Ali.

1 person found this helpful

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Exceptional Read

If you want to know about Ali n malcolm then this is the book for you

1 person found this helpful

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good content terrible narration

it's completely inappropriate given the subject matter and the use of the n-word that they would hire a white middle-aged voice actor to do the narration on this it's insulting in fact it's adding insult to injury I'm back at the unfortunate history of racial oppression that this book covers however the information in the book itself is very valuable I don't know what to rate it as far as stars I would say just buy the physical copy

1 person found this helpful

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Insightful, Clarity, and Informing

this was one of the most impact for books in my life and regards to understanding the relationship that took place between these two men who had iconic figures in the history of black America. A must read if you want to know with clarity the real inside truth of these two men.

1 person found this helpful