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on 1 June 1999
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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on 31 December 1997
When I first started rowing in 1987 I happened across a copy of the Amateurs at a local bookstore. thrilled with the fact I found a book on my new sport and written by one of our best journalists I devoured it in a scant five hours. Even though I was a novice to the sport I found that Habelstram captured the pain, fears, joys, and dissapointments of boat racing perfectly. Later as a coach I would reccomend this book to my rowers so they could see that the feelings they were experiencing are not unique to them, but also shared by even the elite scullers that Halberstram observed. I also reccomended this book to the parents of my rowers so they could better understand the level of commitment it takes to row . Halberstram has done a rare thing, he has written about a subject so precisley that it will not be scoffed at by those who row, and those who do not row will not be lost in the explanation of technique and rowing history.
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on 2 September 1998
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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on 26 August 1999
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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on 28 March 1998
I'm in the middle of my rowing career at Harvard right now, and David Halberstam's evaluation of rowing as an experience and as a way of life is right on. He is an incredibly perceptive reporter, as evidenced by his characterization of Harry Parker, my coach, along with the four extraordinary rowers this book is written about, and he is also an exceptional author. Great book.
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on 1 January 2017
Despite being a household of sporting enthusiasts, we never finished this book. It's very American and all rather back slapping and expects you to be interested in people because of who they are rather than by telling you something interesting about them. Off to the charity shop in the next collection I think.
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on 15 November 1998
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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on 12 June 2014
Great book. Note: As of June 2014, The reviews linked from Amazon.com to the kindle edition are for another of his books, The Powers That Be, which is about the American press. See the paperback listing of The Amateurs for the correct reviews of The Amateurs.
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on 20 March 2015
good
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