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Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  281 ratings  ·  19 reviews
This is no ordinary book about boxing. Dark Trade is Donald McRae's vivid personal journey through the intense and forbidding world of the professional fight game. Tyson, Bruno, Hamed, Benn, Eubank, Watson, Jones, De La Hoya and Toney confide in him their fears and longings. Their fantastic, almost mythological stories are uncovered in new and striking detail, derived from ...more
Hardcover, First U.S. Edition, 552 pages
Published February 26th 2019 by Hamilcar Publications (first published September 18th 1997)
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4.46  · 
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 ·  281 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boxing
It's rare to hear active fighters openly discuss the seedy, corrupt reality of the business side of the Sweet Science, but that's just what this book delivers.

Highly recommended for hardcore boxing fans, but likely of little interest to anyone else.
Boxing is a sport that can bring out the best and the worst in human beings. This is true for the fighters, the managers, the fans and nearly anyone with a connection to the sport. Whichever way a story or personal tale goes, this book on the sport in America and Britain during the 1990’s is widely hailed as one of the best books on the sweet science ever written and this reviewer agrees with that assessment.

Donald McRae, a writer for the British publication The Guardian, has been transfixed by
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether you're a light, medium or heavy boxing fan this one is sure to thrill. A nice intimate look at boxing in the 1990s. This book starts off quite light and humorous in style. As it goes on in gets increasingly darker as the author is continually exposed to the bleaker aspects of the murky world of boxing. There is both joy and sadness in this book. My favourite aspect was how well we get to know James 'lights out' Toney. The author @donaldgmcrae is an expert in the field of boxing and incid ...more
Oliver Bateman
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The definitive history of a certain slice of 1990s boxing - Chris Eubank, James Toney, Mike Tyson, Oscar de la Hoya, Naseem Hamed, Evander Holyfield - told by an author who keeps himself mostly in the background and captures hundreds of pages of their intimate conversations. All of these men eventually fail to become the next Ali, and McRae is there to capture these career arcs. Quite stellar, honestly. Winter Colours, which I've yet to finish, is perhaps even better, given its detailef discussi ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a compelling read for boxing fans, and I would recommend it to those who were fans and recall the period of the 1990s but particularly to younger fans who might have only been kids or not even born then, to help them understand the history of the sport and better assess the legacies of that era at work in the current historical moment. Even non-fans will appreciate the personal struggles, calamities, and successes it documents, for McRae has a gift for getting at the human behind the hyp ...more
Richard Greene
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, sports
I can't imagine that there's a better book on boxing. Dark Trade tells the story of some of the biggest names in boxing in the late-1980s and 1990s: Tyson, Jones, Toney, Eubank, Benn, De La Hoya among others. The recurring theme is boxing provides a path out of poverty, but no fighter emerges victorious. Deaths, prison sentences, heartbreak, depression, financial ruin, and betrayals - you name it - it's tragic. While claiming to be a fan of the sport of boxing, Donald McRae consistently provides ...more
Gregory John
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
p.144: …. with the coincidental power of the best parables,....

p.218: Dr Flip Homansky stared into Garcia’s vacant eyes, as his father and trainer screamed for him to continue. Homansky allowed him to get off his stool when Garcia nodded twice that he felt able to fight on.

p.290: And the deeper downtown you went, the more Vegas changed. The people left on the bus were angular and leathery, their voice blurred and worn. It was as if the dreaming of a sudden fortune, of a way out, had rusted away.
Glen Sharp
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book. McRae obviously loves boxing, and his powers of observation are balanced by a novelistic ability to reveal character. If there is a central protagonist in DARK TRADE it would be James Toney, for whom McRae is unapologetically aware he does not write about objectively. The loss of objectivity, however, in the hands of someone like McRae, does not diminish the sense of truthfulness or honest information this book provides.
Greville Waterman
The best sports books are about far more than spirt and this wonderful book is no exception.

McCrae is a fantastic writer who has the ability to get his subjects to open up and reveal their deep and innermost thoughts.

This is an updated version of his classic analysis of boxing in the 90s and should be read by anyone who enjoys incisive and even elegiac sports writing.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good book, probably more of a 4.5 rating than a 4 on my ratings scale.

McRae's journey through some of the most charismatic boxing personalities of the 1990s, charting the highs and lows, the championships, the damage, the deaths, the feuds, the exploitation, the excitement of watching boxers like Tyson, Holyfield, Toney, De La Hoya, Benn, Watson, Prince Naseem and Eubank is a book that goes way beyond relating what happened.

McRae shows the personalities he encountered, and tells great
David Graham
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For me, this is the best boxing book I have ever read, simply because it is about so much more than just boxing. It takes characters like Toney, Tyson, Eubank, Hamed, Jones Jr and Benn, to name but a few, and through the time the author spends with them gives us amazing insights into their character and vulnerabilities. The writer gets closest to Toney and large portions of the book deal with his formative years as champion at middle and super-middle, knowing what went on to happen after the boo ...more
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boxing
A wonderfully-written time capsule of the boxing landscape, with McRae going in deep with heavy hitters such as Mike Tyson, James Toney, Chris Eubank, and Naseem Hamed. Most enlightening is his work with Toney, showing a more human side to a man whose public persona was nasty and violent, albeit often laced with outlandish humor. The personal connections between fighter and writer are special; McRae taps into something most boxing journalists or writers since this book was first released simply ...more
Gavin Smith
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic boxing book. It covers some of the most famous fighters through the nineties and the ups and down of their careers. The descriptions of fights are so good that it can feel like you're there. I remember quite a few of these fights and he captures the atmosphere perfectly.
John Adair
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One the best books written about Boxing. A brilliant journey through world championship boxing through the 1990's, can't recommend it enough.
Brian D'Souza
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply one of the BEST boxing books ever written.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it.
Nathan Jones
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worth it solely for the sections on James Toney, which are outstanding. That said, the rest is excellent too.
Majid Parvizi
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sports journalism at its best; written by a man whose love&hate relationship with boxing is bound to make this book a thoughtful and revealing odyssey.
Andrew Black
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Dec 11, 2016
Nick Long
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Sep 16, 2017
Liam Byrne
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Jul 05, 2016
Victor Espino
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Mar 12, 2019
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Jan 02, 2019
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Apr 27, 2018
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Aug 23, 2007
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Austin J.
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Apr 08, 2019
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Dec 21, 2018
Andrew Ritchie
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Mar 24, 2019
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Donald McRae was born near Johannesburg in South Africa in 1961 and has been based in London since 1984.

He is the award-winning author of six non-fiction books which have featured legendary trial lawyers, heart surgeons and sporting icons. He is the only two-time winner of the UK’s prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year – an award won in the past by Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch and Laura H