Based on a true story, this novel tells of Tom Molineux, an American slave who won his freedom in a fight in the American South. He then set his sights on beating the champion of the country where prize fighting originated, the famous Tom Cribb of Bristol.
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In Black Ajax, George MacDonald Fraser tells the story of a black man from the United States who nearly became England's champion boxer during the early 19th century. This historical novel is based on the true story of Tom Molineaux, a former slave who won his freedom in a boxing match, then traveled to England, refined his skills, and almost became the first black champ. The story is told by over a dozen witnesses to Molineaux's bouts with the reigning champion, Tom Cribb. Molineaux's trainer recalls the fighter's awe-inspiring strength and speed. A butler who asks to remain anonymous divulges information about the fighter's love affair with an English noblewoman. Molineaux's manager, a former slave and retired boxer, speaks bitterly of his disappointment in the youth for failing to prove to the English that a black man could be as capable a fighter as any white man. Nearly all the witnesses to the first match between the two fighters thought Molineaux lost mainly because the judges gave the white opponent an unfair advantage.
All the characters in this novel speak in 19th-century dialect, and it's diverting to try to decipher their many odd turns of phrase. For those who cannot determine the meanings of words such as "Spike Hotel," "toco," "winker," and "wistycastor" from context, the author provides a glossary at the end of the book. Unfortunately, almost all of the characters seem overly fond of using racial epithets, which draws attention to the shortcomings of this book. The main one is that Tom Molineaux, who undoubtedly was a complex, fascinating character, comes across as a stereotype here: a hulk with not many brains but a lot of sex drive. Although Fraser fails in that respect, this novel does vividly chronicle an intriguing episode in the history of sport and race relations. --Jill MarquisAbout the Author:
George MacDonald Fraser is the bestselling author of the Flashman series and also of the novels Mr. American and The Pyrates and his war memoir, Quartered Safe Out Here. He lives in Scotland.
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Book Description HarperCollins. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UNUSED, VERY GOOD, NOT EX-LIBRARY, Uncorrected book proof, 256 pages. When Tom Molineaux, a freed black slave, leaves America in 1810 for England he is determined to become a champion prize-fighter. His superb physique and lightning fists quickly see him taken up by the Fancy - the community of swells, gamblers, rakes and pugilists who follow the fight game, and in particular Captain Buckley "Mad Buck" Flashman. Like his son, the arch-cad Harry Flashman, the Captain always has an eye to the main chance, and in a world in which half a million guineas can be wagered on a single fight, he sees significant advantage in becoming patron to the noble but innocent Molineaux.As Tom, or the Black Ajax as he is dubbed, is slowly shaped into the wonder of the Fancy, he is introduced to Society, and is soon the toast of the town, even shaking the hand of the Prince Regent himself. A national figure, Tom is carried on a popular swell of fight fever towards his great ambition: to fight the invincible, undefeated champion of England, Tom Cribb. Enthralling, moving and absolutely captivating, Black Ajax is a fine portrait of a man who brought the prize ring a fame and lustre it had never known before, and may never again. Bookseller Inventory # 9430
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002255855
Book Description Harpercollins Publishers, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0002255855