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, this book 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. Idolised 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. This book is deeply personal tale of two of the greatest and most influential athletes the world has ever known.
- Publication Date:
- 15 / 12 / 2002