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Blood Over Water Hardcover – 2 Mar 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 301 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 1st edition (2 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747595151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747595151
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 572,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Blood Over Water stands out from the mass of sporting memoirs thanks to the authors' open portrayal of their relationship as the build-up to the race intensifies' -- The Economist

'Jumping from boat to boat, from brother to brother, you feel every physical and emotional strain as they haul their boats along the river, seeking to claim familial supremacy...[the story] is thrillingly relived by these two feuding siblings' -- The Times

'The result of the race - for those who don't already know - is even more mouth-wateringly Hollywood. You just couldn't make it up.' -- Rachael Quarrell, Rowing Voice

'The rivalry is brilliantly told' -- The Guardian

'The tale of an epic Boat Race brilliantly told from the heart of the competition by two brothers. It is impossible for the reader not to become involved. A serious candidate for `the sports book of the year' -- Barry Davies

'This is an excellent book. The Livingstons provide a great insight into the effect that sport can have on the relationship between siblings. Their description of the events around the dramatic 2003 Boat Race also captures the essence of this unique contest and make compelling reading.'
-- Jonny Searle, Olympic Champion 1992

Blood Over Water stands out from the mass of sporting memoirs thanks to the authors' open portrayal of their relationship as the build-up to the race intensifies. -- The Economist

Jumping from boat to boat, from brother to brother, you feel every physical and emotional strain as they haul their boats along the river, seeking to claim familial supremacy. -- The Times

The tale of an epic Boat Race brilliantly told from the heart of the competition by two brothers. It is impossible for the reader not to become involved. A serious candidate for `the sports book of the year'. -- Barry Davies

About the Author

David studied for a BA in Biological Sciences at Christ Church Oxford (2001-2004) and then stayed for a further year to complete an MSc in Management Research at the Said Business School. His main passion throughout his time at Oxford was to win the Oxford Cambridge University Boat Race. In 2003 he won the closest ever Boat Race by a margin of one foot against a Cambridge crew containing his older brother James. Since he left University he has represented Great Britain at rowing on a number of occasions. He was motivated to write a book about his experiences and relationship with his brother to try and reconcile his feelings of guilt at winning the race. He currently works as an investment analyst at a private wealth management firm. James went up to Cambridge in 1999 to read Natural Sciences. He was twice selected for the Cambridge reserve crew, Goldie, before graduating to the Cambridge Blue Boat. James returned to Cambridge, starting a one year course in Management to give him a final chance of victory. James was again selected for the Cambridge Blue Boat but lost in the closest race of all time, against his younger brother David. James has rowed at a number of World Championships at Senior and U23 level and attended the Athens Olympics as part of Team GB. He has rowed all over the world including competitions in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, New Zealand and the United States.James lives in London and works in venture capital, investing in rapidly growing technology companies. He has written for Varsity, the Cambridge University newspaper, and had travel writing articles published in Travelbag magazine.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. L. M. Price on 5 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
Blood Over Water is as much about the struggle between heroism and humanity as about the race between Oxford and Cambridge. It's a terrifying read in places. It's not just the overwhelming intensity of the training regimes inflicted on Boat Race athletes. Nor was it, for me, the actual pain of racing and losing, although that's described in searing detail too.

Instead, the most disturbing and darkly fascinating aspect was the insight into the brothers' psychological journey. We get a privileged glimpse into James and David Livingston's absolute focus, their obsession and hunger for a single victory. It's heroic and admirable. But how can you be a hero and retain your humanity? When the system teaches you to hate your opponents, what happens when your enemy turns out to be your own brother?

The Livingston brothers take us on a thrilling journey through these dark places and ultimately show us that the ultimate victory is one of friendship, whoever has the medal. It's a real page-turner of a story that should be read by far more than just the rowing fraternity. It's about hope, fear, pain, love and all the rest that make us human.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John P. McDonald on 4 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I live in the Western U.S., and I could not find this book at any bookstore (Powells, Barnes and Noble), nor any library. I even checked the NYC Public Library and the Library of Congress online, but my searches found nothing.

I was referred to amazon.uk by a friend who had studied at Durham University, and who had used the UK service before. The delivery and service were terrific.

The book should be of some great interest to rowers and those who follow rowing or train as a rower might on the ergo and weight circuits. Those who have not rowed in the UK, like myself, likely cannot comprehend the "boat race" mental construct, which motivates, guides, and perpetuates training for one race held only one time per year. The only event I can compare it to in the States is the Army-Navy football game, where winning that match-up determines success or failure for the season.

However, this book, a journal kept by 2 bright and lively lads who competed against each other in the boat race as brothers, brings home precisely the stakes involved in winning the Oxford-Cambridge race: nothing short of success in this race will mean success for the year for the coaches, the old boys, and the crew members.

Shortly after I purchased and began reading this book. I discovered a video on U Tube of a researcher in business psychology, who worked out (some) and spent time with one of these crews in order to understand the psyhchology underlying the crew. This researcher gave lectures to business executives demonstrating how those qualities necessary to successfully constitute the crew might be applied to successful strategies by the business teams.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By NJL Friend on 11 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
One of the best sports books that I've read. The two seperate accounts make the story all the more interesting, and because both have sacrificed so much in the pursuit of glory, you end up not really minding who wins. A dead heat would've been the perfect result...

A cracking read, that is very hard to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wherley on 8 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a great sports story - given it was the closest Boat Race ever and had brothers competing against each other for the first time in 100 years - but the real story here is that of the all-consuming lifestyle that is training for The Boat Race. Readers will get a close-up look at the student-athlete experience at Oxford & Cambridge, with a healthy emphasis on the 'athlete' portion, and will better understand the obsessive nature of all elite athletes.

David and James did a superb job of conveying the mounting pressure on the rowers at Oxford and Cambridge, with everything riding on the result of a single race at the end of seven months of training. Readers gain insight on the ups and downs that are part of the selection process for the 8 seats in each crew. It took me a little time to get used to the back and forth format between the brothers' points of view, but once I got used to the rhythm, I really enjoyed it, and I think any fan of The Boat Race would enjoy it too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Adrian D. Stokes on 18 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
I think I've read most of what's been written in the rarefied field of rowing biographies and it's strange that the two best of the genre should have come from the same stable, Hampton School. Martin Cross the Hampton school master whose "Olympic Obsession" did more than any sporting biography I've read to explain the altered mental state of a winner at the top level and now this cleverly planned and beautifully written account of a relationship played out around the events of a singular English sporting tradition. These are two extraordinary and gifted young men at two great institutions who choose to imprison themselves in the completely blinkered uncompromising world of top level university rowing and for 285 pages you inhabit the same prison. If the sheer torture of the physical regime is not enough to exhaust you, the emotional trip certainly will. What becomes apparent is that if the result had been different they would both have been the worse for it and probably if the margin of victory had been greater some of the same might have applied. But they both gained something from the result and the events of the day, created a foundation from which to develop the rest of their lives and their own relationship. Finally and like all the best stories, the ending had me once again reaching the hankies. Excellent.
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