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Wrecking Machine: A Tale of Real Fights and White Collars [Paperback]

Alex Wade
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.99
Price: 15.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Jun 2005
Alex Wade is a respectable professional man, with a responsible white-collar job. But once in a while he puts on his gloves, steps into a boxing ring and hits another man in the face while trying to avoid getting hit in return. Welcome to the world of the 'Real Fight Club', where lawyers, surveyors and City traders swap their pinstripes for mouthguards and experience the kind of adrenaline rush that only unarmed combat can bring. But what drives these largely middle-class, often affluent men to invite a punch to the head? For Alex Wade it became a way of addressing his own demons, and facing up to the fact that, despite the respectable veneer, his first three decades had been marked by a tendency to violence and self-destruction. As he describes in this gripping and moving memoir, it was only through a world of organised violence that he truly came to know himself.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (6 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743263480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743263481
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,445,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'In this gripping story, [Wade] reminds us of how close the worlds of litigation and pugilism are' -- The Times

'[A] brutally honest memoir . . . an intelligent and articulate man's attempt to understand why he was destroying his life' -- Daily Telegraph

A superb book... whose success is down to its honesty and irresesistible story-telling. -- The Sunday Times

This gripping story reminds us of how close the world of litigation and pugilism is. -- The Times

From the Inside Flap

Alex Wade is a respectable professional man, with a responsible white-collar job. But once in a while he puts on his gloves, steps into a boxing ring and hits another man in the face while trying to avoid getting hit in return. Welcome to the world of white-collar boxing, where lawyers like Alex as well as surveyors and City traders swap their pinstripes for mouthguards and experience the kind of adrenaline rush that only unarmed combat can bring.

But what drives these largely middle-class, often affluent men to invite a punch to the head? What is it about their jobs, or themselves, that has seen white-collar boxing become one of the fastest-growing areas of the sport, with the Financial Times describing the pursuit as the ‘new golf’? For Alex Wade it offered a way of addressing his own demons, and facing up to the fact that, despite the respectable veneer, his first three decades of life had been marked by a tendency to self-destruction. Drinking and fighting, fighting and drinking – the watch-words of his recent history had threatened to wreck both his professional career and his family. But a chance encounter with a guardian angel in the form of a convicted crack-dealer opened his eyes to a new way of being – a world shaped by commitment, confidence and control. As well as the benefits of training and sparring there was also camaraderie – of both the Real Fight Club, white-collar boxing’s foremost promoter, and his!
local amateur gym.

A riveting and beautifully written insight into the fascinating world of white-collar boxing, Wrecking Machine is also a remarkably candid and sometimes brutal exploration of the nature of masculinity. In vivid and evocative prose Alex Wade revisits some of the darker episodes of his past, examines the similarities between the ‘noble art’ and the confrontational nature of the Law, and shows how it was only through a world of organised violence that he truly came to know himself.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Unique Sports Book For Years 12 Dec 2006
Format:Paperback
Think what you will of white-collar boxing, but read Alex Wades' beautifully written book before venting those views. Wade, a solicitor with a C.V. that reads like a chapter out of Legal Londons' Whoes Who, had it all and threw it all away.

Boxing was his salvation. But this book is about far more than just boxing. It is about life, law, self-destruction and squaring up to ones demons.

Dramatic and torturous as his separation from the profession may have been, Wade had to piece together his life, the morning after the night before. Boxing, self-discipline, his duties as a father and a desire to save his marriage all played their part.

Of late white-collar boxing has been quietly attracting a gentle trickle of participants from the Judiciary, the Bar and the Solicitors profession to spar with fellow city professionals. The unlikely migration from the rarefied air conditioned cerebral world of the top floor city offices to the chilly brick cellars resounding to the pounding metered out to punch bags and pugilists alike started on Wall Street. Spreading to London, the trickle turned into a veritable stream, such that one promoter mooted the prospect of a Wall Street V. City tournament. Amidst all this Wade ponders the reasons for why those of us who've spent a life time amongst books should take that brave and lonely step into the ring. Perhaps boxing is the physical manifestation of litigation. Many courtroom metaphors have their origins in the ring. Wade explores the similarities eloquently and in detail. Drawing on his experiences with Peter Carter Ruck and Partners as well as his work as a night lawyer with Fleets Streets' finest he recalls the headlines from some of our most celebrated cases. How `heavy weight Q.C.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 7 Sep 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. It's the autobiographical story of Alex Wade a thirtysomething (once promising) solicitor turned journalist with a tendency to drink too much and a semi-permanent 'slightly rough' feeling. This leads to anti-social behaviour including a disastrous and destructive extra-martial affair. However, he is able to find redemption (and marital reconciliation) through training for white collar boxing. En route to pugilistic success he meets some exceedingly well-drawn characters.
Alex Wade is unstinting in his description of some very painful scenes but despite this I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It should appeal to anyone who has tried to get fit whilst out of condition, engaged in self destructive behaviour, embarked on a mid-career change of direction, made themselves miserable by choosing a profession to please other people or boxing fans (particularly the white collar variety).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Second to none! 7 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked its ruthless honesty and integrity, combined with an endearing literary style, which in my view is second to none.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Alex Wade - Wrecking machine 25 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great read, so much more than just a canter through white collar boxing. Will certainly look out for other titles from Alex.
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