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The Crossing: Conquering the Atlantic in the World's Toughest Rowing Race Hardcover – 12 Oct 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; First Edition edition (12 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184354511X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843545118
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 2.7 x 25 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 465,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

I'm not sure if these guys are insanely brave or just insane . . . An epic adventure and a gripping read' Andy McNab --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

James Cracknell is an Olympic Gold medallist rower (Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004) and holds three world records. He writes regularly for the Daily Telegraph. Ben Fogle was made famous by the BBC's Castaway programme and is now a TV presenter, his shows include Country file and Animal Park, The TeaTime Islands (Penguin) was published in 2003.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By wenallt1 on 14 Oct. 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the autobiographical account of James Cracknell and Ben Fogle's crossing in the Atlantic Rowing Race 2005/06 from the Canary Islands to Antigua. Both of them alternate in telling the story and sometimes recount the same incidents from their own very different perspectives. They seemed to enter the race in a fit of absent mindedness and their preparations were truly shambolic to the extent that the organisers came within a hair's breadth of refusing them permission to participate. Ben Fogle hadn't even properly learnt to row beforehand! Oh yes, and in addition to rowing 3,000 miles they also had to endure the worst weather that the bi-annual race had ever experienced. However, this amateurishness greatly improves the story. What prevents it falling into a story of public school derring do is that gradually you see the strengths and transferable skills that both characters have developed in other spheres coming very much to the fore and pulling them through to become the first pair to cross the finishing line. So James Cracknell's intense competitiveness provides immense drive and motivation whilst Ben Fogle's good natured doggedness offers a striking contract to Cracknell. Despite great stretches when not a lot happens other than lots and lots of rowing (interspersed with a few brief moments of dangerous high drama) the book never fails to engage. There was a surprising twist before the end when the motivation of both characters changed. Both frankly, but kindly, relate the tensions that invariably arose on board. I think this is one of the book's strengths - the way they honestly project both their personalities, warts and all, to the extent that you feel you know and like them both by the time they reach Antigua.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Read Me on 1 July 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you missed this when it was shown on tv (briefly in a one off show) then this is the story of Ben (TV host, bit posh) and James (Olympic rower, v competitive) and their race to row across the Atlantic. Its all fairly self explanatory - find a rowing partner, buy a boat, row in straight line, meet friends and family on other side of ocean. But things are never that easy.

This book gives you both sides of the story, and makes it very clear that Ben and James didn't always get on. The arguments, tantrums, bickering and resentments all make this a more honest account of their journey. I like the format of this book, in the sense that you get one account first, then followed on by the others, leading you to draw your own conclusions when sometimes they don't add up.

The actual race itself sounds amazing. The team were very underprepared and no-one thought they stood a chance of even starting, but somehow they made it. Then its all about the hard slog across the Atlantic including highlights of rowing with dolphins and the low points of capsizing in the night.

This is a great book, thoroughly recommended for anyone who is an armchair adventurer.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Simon Stonehouse on 3 Feb. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book for a while that's kept me completely gripped..finished it in a couple of evenings and was kind of disappointed when it was over! A must read for anyone with a curiosity of the human nature under extreme pressure (in some very adverse circumstances)

It is written honestly and candidly by both men and makes you feel like you are living the ups and downs with them!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Bill Bryson on 4 Oct. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this book not really knowing how good it would be and ended up finishing it in 6 hours - I just couldn't put it down. The book is so well written, it's hilarious to see the differences in mentality between James and Ben and because it's written by both of them, you get both perspectives. But it's also an incredible account of perseverence and bravery coping with terrible loneliness, hunger, thirst and sheer terror. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I finished the book. Amazing...
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Barber on 20 Mar. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Gripping, terrifying, heartbreaking, amazing, emotional, courageous. Just a few of the words describing the race whilst reading this book. They start as ill-equipped outsiders and finish as the first pair to cross the Atlantic in one of the greatest races since records began.

I was never popular of Ben Fogle from Castaway 2000, however since reading this book in just a few days my assumptions of him were changed dramatically. A must read for anyone who doubts the book will not be as good as this review makes out!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Pinto on 10 Oct. 2006
Format: Hardcover
Having seen the BBC documentary, I kinda knew that what James Cracknell and Ben Fogle had done was tough; but what comes through brilliantly in the book is the real sense of a race (they were up against lots of other similar rowing boats) and the crackling,tetchy tension between the two of them - it's clear that Fogle was initially just along for the fun of the experience, while Cracknell wanted to win at all costs. There's a brilliant bit where Cracknell powers them away at the start for an hour, and they're clearly buzzing at beating everyone else... only for a vital bit of equipment to break. All the other boats bob merrily past them, and the realization sets in that this isn't a 2,000m Olympic race; it's 3,000 miles, rowing 12 hours a day for fifty days. Great stuff.
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