In Black & White Description
The extraordinary biography of two of the world's greatest athletes - Jesse Owens and Joe Louis. Jesse Owens and Joe Louis have been hailed as American icons for the last sixty-five years, yet they were unfailingly human in everything they achieved and endured: as vulnerable as they were courageous; as troubled as they were brilliant; as restless in themselves as they are now rooted in history. IN BLACK AND WHITE will tell, for the first time, the story of the shared political legacy, extraordinary personal links and enduring friendship between 4-times Olympic gold medallist Jesse Owens, and Heavyweight World Boxing Champion Joe Louis, black athletes born in an America demeaned by racism and poverty. Award-winning sports journalist Donald McRae explores these two most revered of sportsmen whose finest achievements cannot be diminished by their later tragedies; their little-known stretches of debt, despair, drug-addiction and mental illness as they struggled to find a life beyond the track and the ring. It is a deeply personal story of two of the greatest athletes the world has ever known.
'On the back' of In Black & White
"An extraordinary achievement" Independent on Sunday
"An intense, perceptive and brilliantly written book" Time Out
"Outstanding...captures the drama, dedication and inevitable despair of boxing" Daily Telegraph
"McRae brings to the highly charged, obsessive world of professional boxing a novelist's eye and ear for revealing detail...a vividly rendered, immensely readable book" Joyce Carol Oates, Los Angeles Times
'Inside the cover' of In Black & White
The untold story of two of the greatest sportsmen the world has ever known
Joe Louis and Jesse Owens have been hailed as American icons since 1935. That summer, within weeks of each other, they emerged as the first black stars of world sport. Their political and social impact on America and the world beyond would soon become sensational, and yet they were unfailingly human in everything they undertook: as vulnerable as they were courageous; as troubled as they were brilliant; as restless in themselves as they are now rooted in history. For the first time, In Black and White reveals the story of the shared political legacy, extraordinary personal links and enduring friendship between the Olympic legend Jesse Owens, and World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Louis.
In August 1936, in front of Hitler and an imposing phalanx of Nazi commanders, Jesse Owens, 'the fastest man on earth', won an unprecedented four medals at the Olympic games in Berlin. Two years later, in 'the fight of the century, his great friend Joe Louis crushed Germany's Max Schmeling to signal the end of white supremacy in boxing. Like Jesse, Joe had been born to black share-cropping parents in a country demeaned by racism; together their victories were held up as a banner for the disenfranchised black population of America. Idolized across the world, they were two young men at the pinnacle of their careers who overcame prejudice and fear to achieve their goals. Yet for both of them, success brought its own perils.
Award-winning writer Donald McRae takes us from the glory of the ring and the track to the forgotten story of their later lives; subjected to FBI investigations, hounded by the IRS, beleaguered by debt, despair, drug-addiction and mental-illness.
Through triumph and misfortune he tells the story of these two most revered of sportsmen whose finest achievements cannot be diminished by their later tragedies. In Black and White is a deeply personal tale of two of the greatest and most influential athletes the world has ever known.
Donald McRae was born in South Africa in 1961. He worked as a teacher in Soweto for two years before moving to London in 1984. He has written for The Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Observer and Esquire and is the author of three books, Nothing Personal, Dark Trade, winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, and Winter Colours.
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