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Why did A Prayer Before Dawn become a classic?

A Prayer Before Dawn is a gripping memoir written by Billy Moore, detailing his experiences of being imprisoned in Thailand’s infamous Klong Prem prison. The book was first published in 2014 and has since become a classic in the true crime genre. But what is it about A Prayer Before Dawn that has made it such a success?

At its core, A Prayer Before Dawn is a story of redemption. Moore’s journey from a troubled youth to a convicted drug smuggler to a Muay Thai boxer and ultimately a writer is nothing short of remarkable. His memoir is a raw and honest account of his struggles with addiction and the self-destructive behavior that led him down the path to prison. His story is not just one of survival, but also of self-discovery and self-improvement.

One of the reasons for the book’s success is its unflinching portrayal of the brutal and often violent world of prison life in Thailand. The vivid and raw descriptions of the conditions Moore endured, along with the constant threat of violence, keep readers on the edge of their seats and make it hard to put the book down. His memoir is not just a documentation of the physical violence, but also of the psychological trauma that he and other prisoners faced. The book provides an unfiltered look at the harsh reality of life in a foreign prison, with all its challenges, dangers, and horrors.

Another reason for the book’s success is its ability to connect with readers on a personal level. Moore’s story is a reminder that we are all capable of making mistakes, but also that we can learn from them and turn our lives around. His story is one of hope, and readers can’t help but be inspired by his resilience and determination in the face of adversity. Moore’s journey serves as a reminder that even when we feel like we have hit rock bottom, there is always a way forward.

The book’s cinematic quality is another reason for its success. The story is packed with action, drama, and intense emotions, and it is easy to imagine it being turned into a movie. In fact, a film adaptation of the book was released in 2017, further cementing its popularity. The book’s vivid descriptions of Muay Thai boxing and the fight scenes are particularly engaging and immersive, providing readers with a glimpse into a unique and fascinating world.


Joe Cole plays the role of Billy Moore, the boxer who spent almost four years imprisoned inside Klong Prem Prison in Thailand.

Additionally, A Prayer Before Dawn has an important cultural significance as it sheds light on a part of Thailand that is not often discussed. The book provides readers with a glimpse into the world of Thai prisons, drug addiction, and the underground world of Muay Thai boxing. By sharing his story, Moore not only sheds light on the harsh realities of life in a foreign prison, but also on the beauty and power of Thai culture and traditions.

Finally, the book’s success can also be attributed to its relevance to contemporary issues. The book touches on issues of addiction, the criminal justice system, and the challenges faced by foreign prisoners in Thailand. These themes remain relevant today, especially as debates continue about the efficacy of the war on drugs and the treatment of prisoners in many countries around the world.

In conclusion, A Prayer Before Dawn by Billy Moore has been a success due to its raw and unflinching portrayal of the brutal reality of prison life in Thailand, its ability to connect with readers on a personal level, its cinematic quality, its cultural significance, and its relevance to contemporary issues. The book remains a classic in the true crime genre, inspiring readers around the world with its message of hope, resilience, and the power of redemption.

Posted by John on 13th March 2023