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The Amateurs Paperback – 1 Aug 1996

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; 1st Ballantine Books Ed edition (1 Aug. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449910032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449910030
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

"Astonishing . . . Moving . . . One of the best books ever written about a sport."
*Walter Clemons
Newsweek
"A PENETRATING, FASCINATING AND REMARKABLY SUSPENSEFUL NARRATIVE."
*David Guy
Chicago Tribune
In The Amateurs, David Halberstam once again displays the unique brand of reportage, both penetrating and supple, that distinguished his bestselling The Best and the Brightest and October 1964. This time he has taken for his subject the dramatic and special world of amateur rowing. While other athletes are earning fortunes in salaries and-or endorsements, the oarsmen gain fame only with each other and strive without any hope of financial reward.
What drives these men to endure a physical pain known to no other sport? Who are they? Where do they come from? How do they regard themselves and their competitors? What have they sacrificed, and what inner demons have they appeased? In answering these questions, David Halberstam takes as his focus the 1984 single sculls trials in Princeton. The man who wins will gain the right to represent the United States in the 84 Olympiad; the losers will then have to struggle further to gain a place in the two- or four-man boats. And even if they succeed, they will have to live with the bitter knowledge that they were not the best, only close to it.
Informative and compelling, The Amateurs combines the vividness of superb sportswriting with the narrative skills of a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent.
"RIVETING."
*Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
The New York Times
"[A] MASTERFUL JOB . . . Maintains the suspense to the very last stroke . . . Halberstam makes us care about the four men, their disappointments and thebrutal testing of their friendships."
*Dan Levin
Sports Illustrated

About the Author

David Halberstam graduated from Harvard, where he had served as managing editor of the daily Harvard Crimson. It was 1955, a year after the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools. Halberstam went south and began his career as the one reporter on the West Point, Mississippi, Daily Times Leader. He was fired after ten months there and went to work for the Nashville Tennessean. When the sit-ins broke out in Nashville in February 1960, he was assigned to the story as principal reporter. He joined the New York Times later that year, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his early reports from Vietnam. He has received every other major journalistic award, and is a member of the Society of American Historians.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Halberstam really gets into the minds & hearts and gives names and faces and histories to these traditionally anonymous competitors. Very deep and probing and moving, and the racing/action scenes are well-written. Glad to see a focus on a minor sport, where the athletes aren't stars or icons (unlike Halberstam's latest offering on Jordan).I compete in lifeguard rowing events--much different style of rowing than sculling, but I use an ergometer to help train. While reading this book my 2500 meter erg times dropped by 10 seconds or more, not from any form or style tips but just by recalling the focus, dedication and motivation of Halberstam's rowers.
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By A Customer on 2 Sept. 1998
Format: Paperback
Halberstam poignantly captures the beauty, grace, intensity, zen and agony of the sport. I gave the book to my girlfriend to read so she'd understand why I get up before dawn in rain, snow or perfect calm to sit on my bottom in a boat and go backwards. It's also a fabulous portrait of amateur athletes, especially Olympic athletes, who push themselves to their limits not because they seek wealth, or glory or fame, but because they seek excellence. Fans of sports, biography and great writing will love this book.
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By A Customer on 26 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
Reading this book gives one a complete idea on what it is like row and how it can take over one's life. It shows what dedication a rower has to this sport. This book also shows the disappointment and pain that is experienced during the course of one's rowing career.
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By A Customer on 15 Nov. 1998
Format: Paperback
This is easily the best "sports" book I have ever read. On the recommendation of a close friend and former Harvard rower, I dove into this book thinking only that I would know a few stories about a sport burried in the agate type of a few sports pages. I was wrong. As a competitive marathon runner, I related to everyone in this book. I know what Tiff Wood goes through every morning with his training. I understand why he does what he does to the dismay of family, friends, and teachers. Why would someone with an Ivy League education waste all that to row in relative obscurity? Why place money, family, and the other trappings of "normal" American life on hold? Because. Because some people aspire to things a little more than measly paper. Because some want to accomplish things. Because some haven't given up on dreams.
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