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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Falcon Guides (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762772875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762772872
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Freya Hoffmeister’s voyage was bold, ambitious, and reckless—like so many of the truly great adventures!” –Bear Grylls, author of Mud, Sweat, and Tears and The Kid Who Climbed Everest

". . . a quick and entertaining read." --Publishers Weekly

"Fearless is a compelling read about Freya Hoffmeister’s 2009 circumnavigation of Australia. Author Joe Glickman intertwines the story of a dangerous and difficult year-long adventure with an unflinching look at The Woman in Black, arguably the most accomplished and enigmatic kayaker on the planet." --Sea Kayaker Magazine 

"Fearless is a page-turner, benefiting from gripping language and a conversational tone in the style of contemporary adventure-lit classics like Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air, Into the Wild) and Susan Casey (The Devil’s Teeth, The Wave)." --Canoe and Kayak

"For paddlers and non-paddlers alike, the book is by all means an exciting read, marked both by Hoffmeister’s tenacity as well as Glickman’s for following through with the project and its somewhat stubborn star. Throughout the book, you can feel both Glickman’s frustration with Hoffmeister’s hubris, but also his admiration for her accomplishing one of the hardest feats imaginable in paddling." --Paddling Life 

"Fearless is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of Freya Hoffmeister as she battled to become the first woman to circumnavigate Australia alone in a sea kayak. Ms. Hoffmeister’s accomplishment will endure and inspire not only because of the miles she paddled or her speed on the water, but because she refused to believe it couldn’t be done." -- Warren Richey, author of Without a Paddle


"I’m intrigued by people who do things the rest of us think are impossible. Fearless is just such an adventure, with the added twist that the intrepid explorer is a brash and beautiful woman who has a unique view of life. Author Joe Glickman’s crisp writing puts us in the kayak with this unusual heroine on her incredibly dangerous journey. Hang on!" --Michael Tougias, author of Fatal Forecast, Overboard!, and Ten Hours Until Dawn.


From the Back Cover

Fearless is the story of Freya Hoffmeister, a forty-six-year-old former sky diver, gymnast, marksman, and Miss Germany contestant, who left her twelve-year-old son behind to paddle alone and unsupported around Australia—a year-long adventure that virtually every expert guaranteed would get her killed. She was determined not only to survive the 9,420-mile trip through huge, shark-infested seas, but to do it faster than the only other paddler to have completed the circuit, twenty-seven years earlier.

Journalist and expert kayaker Joe Glickman follows Freya’s 332-day voyage, including the daring 350-mile open-ocean crossing that shaved three weeks off her trip. In the end, he says, “Her vanity and pigheadedness paled next to her nearly superhuman ability to master fear and persevere.”

Customer Reviews

Very well written book, I couldn"t put it down.
Joe Glickman does an admirable job of capturing Freya and her amazing achievement - a 9,420 mile circumnavigation of Australia by kayak.
Marybeth McGinley
The reason became so much more evident when I actually got the book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Carl R. Mousley on January 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joe Glickman is well known in the kayaking world for his highly entertaining style of writing and he doesn't disappoint in this, his book about Freya Hoffmeister's extraordinary paddle around Australia.

Humorous and insightful by turns, Glickman describes how Hoffmeister took on the challenges of sharks, salt water crocodiles, sea snakes and, most of all, some of the most savage weather conditions to be found on the planet. Apart from the 375 mile direct route that she took across the Gulf of Carpenteria (seven nights on the open ocean, "sleeping" balanced on the back deck), the most trying section of the trip was along the notorious Zuytdorp Cliffs - a 120 mile stretch along the western Australian coast that combined massive swells rebounding off sheer cliff faces, a headwind and no way out. Hoffmeister suffered brutal seasickness but toughed it out to become the second person ever to solo the route. She completed the circumnavigation in 332 days, paddling 8,565mi (13,790km) as she did so. Her aim was to beat the (only) previous time by Paul Caffyn who did the trip (assisted the whole way; Freya was assisted only the final 20% of the distance) in 360 days in 1980

Most intriguing though, is Glickman's treatment of Freya "the woman in black" Hoffmeister the person.

Glickman's exasperation with Hoffmeister's almost total lack of interest in the history of her surroundings (she landed on Restoration Island - visited in 1789 by Captain Bligh on his epic journey after the mutiny on the Bounty), and her refusal to admit to or discuss any hint of fear ("What's the problem?") is obvious, but, by the end of the book it is clear that he has a whole-hearted admiration for Hoffmeister's achievements and an empathy with her somewhat unusual character.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By HMW on January 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking to read about a woman's spiritual transformation as she journeys solo around a continent nearly as large as her ego, then this book is not for you. It is not an Eat Pray Love-athon, but more so, a true and objective story about a woman who decided what she wanted to do, connected all the dots to do so, and then set out and proved to many nay-sayers that she could do it. And so she did.

As a paddler, I knew something about Freya's trip through articles written by Joe Glickman, and from occasionally reading her blog entries. Because I found the blog almost painful and frequently annoying to read due to her flat and dull writing style, overabundance of emoticons, and self-adulation, I had already decided I didn't think this was the type of gal friend I would call up to go get a pedicure (although it appears she prefers to do this herself...well, of course she does!) Yet, I looked forward to the book's release, and when it arrived, I was ready to give it a go.

From page one, Joe Glickman draws you into the Who, What, Where, and attempts to answer the Why of this most complicated, frustrating, and goal-driven woman. He does a swell job in describing the geography, environment (sharks and crocs, oh my), history, and culture of Australia. These descriptions and stories provided visuals that had me realizing the significance of Freya's trek and the absurd mental strength needed to persevere day after day...Alone. (The chapter on the Zuytdorp Cliffs was most striking and my favorite). The recollections of the interactions between Freya and Oscar Chalupsky as well as others, and the author's own personal experiences such as his encounter with the blue bottles, were darn amusing. Do not doubt: Joe Glickman is a funny man.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lutz D. Wolter on January 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had been waiting excitedly waiting for the release of the book about Freya Hoffmeister's epic sea kayak paddle around Australia, and when I received the book, I devoured it faster than a Great White goes through a breakfast of Amity Island tourists. It's a spectacular read!

There are two main aspects to the book, both of which I found fascinating and well explored by the author: The first - and obvious - aspect is the account of the expedition itself. The author, Glickman, renders the enormous challenges and portrays Freya's hair raising actions and life-or-death decisions with an acuity that is the result of his own impressive ocean kayaking experiences. He has participated in a half dozen ocean kayaking world championships, as well as performed long distance kayaking expeditions. In addition, he has talked extensively to everyone who attempted or completed the trip around Australia and is alive to talk about it.

But the other, equally fascinating aspect, is the psyche of Freya Hoffmeister, the woman whose feats are without equal among current expedition kayakers, male or female.

With men's domination over the kayaking world as absolute as King Luis XIV's reign over 17th century France, Freya's revolutionary feats of skill and endurance, combined with her cockiness, apparently made some male kayakers feel like Marie Antoinette on her way to the Guillotine, and they were not quiet about it. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the book is how you can identify with Freya and hope that she proves her male detractors wrong. She is unbelievably self-possessed and confident, yet equally skilled, competent and determined.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Joe Glickman is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer. His articles have appeared in Outside, Men's Journal, National Geographic Adventure, Backpacker, Conde Nast's The Traveler, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, and many more. He wrote two-dozen "Weekend Warrior" columns for The New York Times and is the author of six books, including To The Top (Northword Press), The Kayak Companion. A two-time member of the US National Marathon Kayak Team, he's a five-time Molokai finisher, placed as high as 2nd at the Mayor's Cup, won the Blackburn twice and done countless other kayak races around the world. Glickman has cycled across America, paddled solo from Montana to Chicago, and climbed the highest mountain in each of the 50 states. His most recent book, Fearless: One Woman, One Kayak, One Continent (Globe Peaquot), was published in Feb. 2012 and recently shortlisted in the Banff Mountain Book Competition in the Adventure Travel Writing category.

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