Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing - Hamilcar Publications

Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing

Donald McRae



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“McRae brings to the highly charged, obsessive world of professional boxing a novelist’s eye and ear for revealing detail and convincingly recalled dialogue. This is an impassioned book.”—Joyce Carol Oates, Los Angeles Times (full review)

“For fans of the sport, [McRae’s] illuminating book exploring this fierce world may rival the works of such famed boxing writers as Bert Sugar, Norman Mailer, and A.J. Liebling…Engaging and eloquent.”Kirkus Reviews (full review)

Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing, by Donald McRae, award-winning author of eleven non-fiction books and staff writer for The Guardian, is widely considered of one of the best boxing books all time.

This is a new edition, released in the United States for the first time, that includes a new chapter by the author, plus a stunning cover that features a painting of boxer James Toney by noted boxing artist Amanda Kelley.

There is no other sport like boxing. Over twenty years ago, Donald McRae set out across the United States and his adopted home, Britain, to find deeper meaning in the brutal trade that had transfixed him since he was a young man. The result is a stunning chronicle that captures not only McRae’s compelling personal journey through the world of professional prizefighting, but also the stories of some of its biggest names—James Toney, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya, Naseem Hamed, and others.

Singular in his ability to uncover the emotional forces that drive men to get into the ring, McRae brilliantly exposes the hopes and fears and obsessions of these legendary fighters, while revealing some of his own along the way. What he shares with them most, he comes to realize, is that he is hopelessly, and willingly, “lost in boxing.”


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  • Publication Date: February 26, 2019
  • Author: Donald McRae (author website)
  • Awards: Winner of the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year award
  • Edition: First U.S. edition, includes a new chapter by the author
  • Features: New chapter by the author; the cover features an original, commissioned painting of five-time world champion James Toney, by noted boxing artist Amanda Kelley
  • Availability: United States only
  • Hardcover:
    • ISBN: 978-1-949590-05-0
    • Page Count: 552
    • List Price: $29.99
  • Distribution: Two Rivers



Donald McRae Author

Donald McRae is an award-winning author of twelve non-fiction books which have featured compelling boxers, pioneering heart surgeons, and legendary trial lawyers. He has twice won the UK’s William Hill Sports Book of the Year for Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing and In Black White: The Secret History of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens.

McRae is a three-time Interviewer of the Year winner and he has twice won the Feature Writer of the Year for his work in The Guardian – most recently in 2018.

Having been born and raised in South Africa, McRae’s writing career began when, aged 21, he started a music magazine while working as a white teacher in the black township of Soweto. This led to him being offered work in London – and over the last thirty years his writing has been as versatile as it has been commended. His books have been praised consistently for their intimacy of tone and breadth of research as he draws the reader deep inside the heads of his extraordinary subjects.

Whether writing a memoir of life under apartheid, a sporting biography or riveting drama set in the courtroom or surgical theatre, the humanity of Donald McRae’s characters is always evident.

Follow Donald on Twitter @donaldgmcrae

Interview with Donald McRae