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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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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
“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, LA Times
“”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…At the heart of this engaging and eloquent work…is McRae and his intriguing attempts to explain his ‘seemingly illogical but enduring love’ of boxing.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This deeper understanding of everything that surrounds the fight game is what makes Dark Trade so compelling and why McRae’s brave book remains essential reading for any boxing fan.”—Joshua Isard, The Fight City
“The book excellently uses testimonies from fighters such as Mike Tyson, James Toney, Chris Eubank, Naseem Hamed and Roy Jones Jr who confide in McRae their own fears and ambitions in the ring. McRae’s growing relationship with the enigmatic Toney and his family is particularly brilliant.”—The Sportsman
“When I started covering boxing in 1996, one of the first books I read to educate myself about the sport was Dark Trade—and, to this day, Donald McCrae’s book has stayed with me. Not only did it shed light on the inner workings of the boxing business and its personalities, it also provided a young journalist with an example of how this game—and its subjects—should be covered. No collection of boxing books is complete without Dark Trade.”—Steve Kim, ESPN.com
“The sombre truths [McRae] learned inspired…a haunting, utterly memorable book.”—The Independent
Donald McRae has proven again and again that he’s a superb writer who understands the sport and business of boxing —and so much more.”—Thomas Hauser, author of Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times