Cork Boat and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$4.00
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Dust jacket in Has dustjacket condition.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Cork Boat Hardcover


See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$3.79 $0.01 $4.75
Paperback
"Please retry"

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1 edition (January 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375422579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375422577
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,605,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After a three-year stint as a freelance foreign correspondent in Spain, Pollack returned to the U.S. to win the 1995 O. Henry World Championship Pun-Offs and work as a speechwriter for House Democratic Whip David Bonior. Disillusioned by Capitol Hill hypocrisy, hyperbole and political rhetoric, he yearned for a "creative sabbatical." "Deep down, I knew I had to get out before the rising bile of my cynicism poisoned the last of my idealism." The "antithesis of everything Washington," he decided, would be to build a boat from wine corks, a dream project since his childhood. Teaming with architect Garth Goldstein and collecting corks during visits to D.C. restaurants, Pollack also received some hefty donations: 15,000 corks from California's Cork Supply USA and an equal number of rubber bands from Arkansas's Alliance Rubber. Despite such inroads, Pollack's boat building endeavors went on the back burner when he was invited to join Bill Clinton's speechwriting team. He shares a brief glimpse of White House life, then gets back to boat-building. After several months (and with the help of dozens of volunteers), the boat was finally assembled with 165,321 corks and 15,000 rubber bands. Sailing on a cresting wave of media attention, Pollack landed a sponsorship from Cork Supply and navigated his 22-foot boat down the Douro River in Portugal (the birthplace of cork); the concluding chapters detail that operation's loony logistics. Although a cork boat drawing (not seen by PW) is included, it's not always easy to visualize the boat's construction from the text description. Nevertheless, Pollack offers an amusing tale, with entertaining anecdotes constantly bobbing to the surface.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Pollack tells how he realized his lifelong dream of building a boat from wine-bottle corks. The project involved calling on restaurants (an agonizingly slow process that he grew to loathe); boat design (and redesign) with his architect partner; asking for 60,000 free corks from a supplier; construction (with numerous setbacks) in a Washington, DC, garage by dozens of volunteers who came and went; and the stressful completion of the vessel just barely in time to meet his third self-imposed deadline. The boat was shipped to Portugal (the home of cork) for a trip down the dam-filled Douro from the Spanish border to the Atlantic, with his codesigner and a few family members and friends along to help row. The journey took much longer than planned. This wonderfully inspiring story, told in an amusing and suspenseful way, shows how hard work and perseverance can make improbable dreams happen. Pollack gives credit to his project partner, who remains a friend even though they had serious differences along the way. His tone is so can-do and engaged with life that it cannot fail to affect readers positively.-Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

John Pollack, who won the 1995 O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, was a Presidential Speechwriter for Bill Clinton. Earlier, he worked as a foreign correspondent in Spain, as a field assistant in Antarctica, and as a strolling violinist on Mackinac Island. His books include "The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History and Made Wordplay More than Some Antics," "Cork Boat: A True Story of the Unlikeliest Boat Ever Built," and "The World on a String: How to Become a Freelance Foreign Correspondent." He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
12
4 star
7
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
3
See all 23 customer reviews
The narrative is well paced, and John is obviously a good writer.
Corinne H. Smith
I received this book as a gift and it was truly a great read and a very inspiring story.
Amod A. Vaze
The experience brought joy to the participants and will bring delight to the reader.
Connieglore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sara Hathaway on January 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In addition to fulfilling his childhood dream of building and launching a boat made of corks, Pollack describes a range of fascinating experiences including working for President Clinton, assisting his geophysicist father in Botswana and other far-flung places, winning an international pun competition, touring the untouched 1912 cabin in Antarctica left behind by Captain Scott's ill-fated expedition, and evacuating Capitol Hill on the morning of 9/11. This book would be the perfect gift for a graduating high school or college senior, and will also appeal to wine lovers, sailors, the unemployed, fans of Portugal, and those with an interest in politics.
Pollack's writing flows. He slips in the occasional gentle pun as he tells his story, and briefly shares historic or literary footnotes to further enrich his tale. His appreciation for people and human nature made this book a standout in the adventure travel genre, in my mind, in contrast to the sneering superiority that has disappointed me in travel books by Paul Theroux or Bill Bryson.
Cork Boat leaves the reader feeling that life is interesting, varied and that anything is possible. Pollack finds this richness and achievement by reaching out to others, and letting them contribute to the fulfillment of his dream. It reminds me of the children's story of Stone Soup: "Never had the peasants tasted such a soup. And fancy, made from stones!" (Imagine: a boat made from corks!)
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kris S. Thompson on March 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I read about this book when it was Friday "Hot Pick" in the Boston Herald. I ended up picking this up and found it to be an enjoyable read. John Pollack is a former Clinton speech writer who had a dream since childhood to build a cork boat that floats. He does after assembling over 165,000 corks with an architect friend, alot of neighborhood help, and some large cork donations from a cork facility in CA. This is a pretty quick read that tells a good story about a dream, a boat, and bonding with friends and family. Pick this up today.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the best book I've read in a long time. It was one that you couldn't put down. I kept picking up the paper, expecting to find updates about the exploits of John Pollack and the Cork Boat. It's well written and a great tale. Read it, enjoy it, recommend it to your friends.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lisa on January 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Start your new year off with a heartwarming, inspirational, TRUE story! At turns joyful, soul-searching, and just flat-out entertaining, this book was one I simply could not put down, once I opened it. In my eagerness to keep reading, I had to drag it around town with me, and read during every spare minute (including waiting for children at various activities, while getting a manicure, and even while pumping gas). This one will definitely keep you engaged until the very last page.
John Pollack, your typical guy with atypical dreams, sets out to build a boat made entirely of wine corks. Blows your mind, doesn't it? We all have dreams, but this one is so far out there, you doubt it can be achieved by any mortal man (or woman). Well, the author proves otherwise. It won't spoil the book to tell you that he eventually succeeds, but you'll definitely want to read it for yourself, to see how he does it. And not only does he build the boat, he lets us ride along on his journey through Portugal, as he sails it down the Douro River.
Along the way, he includes humorous stories of his childhood, his adventures as a writer in Washington D.C., and the challenges of even *finding* 165, 321 corks in the first place. I'm sure that every time I open a bottle of wine, I'll be reminded of this book, and all that was accomplished. Even though this book chronicled something that I will never, ever do, I felt like I was part of the experience - and when I finished reading, I was truly inspired to pursue some of my own neglected dreams.
In summary: just a tremendous book, overall - for the captivating and charming story, the excellent writing, and the inspirational tone. Do yourself a favor and read it - and afterwards, you'll feel great!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Utrata on July 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
While this book doesn't rank as great literature in my opinion, it did read well if one is already inclined to enjoy travel articles. Yes, some of the personal material was surprisingly embarassing in it's clumsiness, but the overall storyline made it a pleasant little read. Certainly not Paul Theroux for travel, but that would be a very high mark indeed. But c'mon: a boat made of cork? Quirky enough to like.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Krichman on November 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Self-promoting? Yes. Poorly written? No doubt about it. Filled with annoying, saccharine-sweet vignettes about one man's pseudo-problems and his triumph-of-the-human-spirit approach to overcoming them? Absolutely.

But in spite of all this, I'm almost ashamed to say that it's still a really good book. This story is bound to appeal to everyone. Anyone who still has a childhood dream unfulfilled; anyone who sometimes yearns for a simpler time when life wasn't so complex; anyone who occasionally wishes that the world could be divided into just two groups - those who save corks and those who don't; anyone who thinks it would be fun to sail the Douro River while seemingly an entire European nation rushes to the river banks to cheer you on; anyone with a soft spot in their heart for sappy stories with happy endings is going to find some joy in this little book.

You'll probably also found yourself rolling your eyes at times - like when it suddenly dawns on you that this guy is an awful writer but somehow managed to land a job writing speeches for the most powerful man on the planet. And you'll probably think at least once or twice that this is the guy that you always wanted beat the crap out of in high school because his attitude was way too positive. But that won't stop you from enjoying the magical journey that this book takes you on.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa2aa68b8)