WINNER OF THE 2002 WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR PRIZE.
In 1936 athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics and, two years later, boxer Joe Louis won a crushing victory to become heavyweight champion of the world. Despite their fame and success, both men would find themselves barred from certain hotels and would have to eat outside restaurants because of the colour of their skin. However. by their example, they gave hope to millions of black people around the world as they became the first black superstars.
In Donald McRae's award-winning dual biography, which includes a brand new chapter, he compiles a brilliant portrait of the two men, who became close friends despite their very different career paths: within days of Olympic glory, Owens was banned from competing again, and was forced to spend his days racing against horses to earn a living before becoming a spokesman for the sporting ideal. Meanwhile Louis won and lost a fortune, eventually battling with drug addiction and mental illness. His vivid account of their lives away from the public eye, and the era in which they lived, is compelling and tragic.
Donald McRae is the award-winning author of eleven non-fiction books, which have featured sporting icons, legendary trial lawyers and heart surgeons. He has twice won the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year, for Dark Trade and In Black & White. He is a three-time Interviewer of the Year winner and has also won Sports Feature Writer of the Year on three separate occasions for his work in the Guardian. He lives in Hertfordshire.
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