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Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer (Alex Awards (Awards)) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 13, 2004


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Series: Alex Awards (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (January 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375415076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375415074
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,553,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Just about every other person in the world seems like an unfocused dilettante compared to long-distance swimming legend Lynne Cox. Soon At the age of 14, after several years of training hard in pools and the open sea, she was swimming the 26 mile stretch from Catalina Island to the coast of California. A year after that, she surpassed a lifelong goal by not only swimming the English Channel but setting a new men's and women's record in the process. Rather than be satisfied, Cox aimed still higher, conquering the Cook Strait in New Zealand, the Strait of Magellan and, the Cape of Good Hope, none of which had been swum before. Being the first to swim the Bering Sea from Alaska to what was then the Soviet Union is perhaps Cox's most impressive achievement, requiring a phenomenal amount of physical strength and endurance to withstand the chilly waters and diplomatic persistence to gain permission from Gorbachev during the Cold War. Swimming to Antarctica is Cox's remarkably detailed account of her major swims and all that went right and wrong with them. While there are plenty of highs, as one might expect in a memoir by so impressive an athlete, all is not sunshine and roses for Cox. She overcomes extreme physical hardship, predatory sharks, and a swim through a sewage-soaked Nile while suffering from dysentery. There is plenty in Swimming to Antarctica to encourage even non-swimmers to work hard to achieve the seemingly impossible, but Cox, a skilled and highly readable writer, sticks to the swimming, leading the reader by example. For thrills and inspiration, it's hard to find anyone better than Lynne Cox. --John Moe

From Publishers Weekly

Cox, one of the world's leading long-distance swimmers, has been a risk-taker ever since she was nine and chose the freezing water of a New Hampshire pool in a storm over getting out and doing calisthenics. After her family moved to California so she and her siblings could train as speed swimmers, she discovered long-distance ocean swimming. Her first open-water event, a team race across the Catalina Channel, convinced her to train for the English Channel. At 15, she broke the Channel record, and decided she needed a new goal. Up to this point, Cox's story reads like a fairy tale of hard work, careful planning and good support, crowned with success. It isn't until she competes in the Nile River swim that the tale turns ugly-she's swimming in raw sewage and chemical waste, fending off the dead rats and broken glass, so sick with dysentery she lands in the hospital. Undeterred, she plans more ambitious swims-around the shark-infested Cape of Good Hope, across Alaska's Glacier Bay-to prepare for her big dream, a swim from Alaska to the Soviet Union across the Bering Strait. While offering herself to researchers studying the effects of cold on the human body, her political goals are even larger: to bring countries and peoples together, using swimming "to establish bridges between borders." Cox ends her story with her swim to Antarctica, where she finishes the first Antarctic mile in 32-degree water in 25 minutes. Even though readers know she survived to tell the tale, it's a thrilling, awesome and well-written story.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Amazing true story.
beccabreck
This is a story of an amazing woman who really pushed the limits of what our bodies are capable of doing.
Caitlin Schlesner
Lynne Cox has masterfully weaved a powerful and inspiring tale with "Swimming to Antarctica."
90coyote

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By bensmomma on April 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Lynne Cox is such an inspirational writer that the reader concentrates on her exceptional accomplishments, both physical and mental, rather than the extreme pain and struggle it took to accomplish them. From her early teens, Cox has eliminated almost everything else from her life to dedicate herself to open-water swims in treacherous and freezing waters, including crossing the Bering Straight between Alaska and the Soviet Union, and swimming a mile in the Antarctic Ocean.

What I really loved about this book is the way Cox struggled not only with the physical challenges of the swims but also struggled to make the swims mean something more to the world at large. For example, the Bering Straight swim took something lik 16 years of meetings and negotiations to arrange, hundreds of donors and volunteers. But in the end that swim stood as a testament and metaphor for the improving connections between nations. Everywhere she goes, Cox seems to have inspired anyone fortunate enough to witness her. That this has come with a great deal of personal sacrifice--money troubles, social limitations, significant nerve damage--is humbly underplayed in the book. She has a kind of determination and self-confidence that transcends a particular athletic endeavour.

That Cox does not *look* like anyone's idea of an endurance athlete just adds to the inspiration -- she's 45 and she's swimming to Antarctica...so what's MY excuse?
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Hamilton on September 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a chubby nine-year-old, Lynne Cox was the slowest kid in the pool. But she loved swimming, so she kept plugging away at it. When the coach ordered her class out of the water because a storm was brewing, she got permission to keep swimming. When hail started falling, Cox kept swimming-alone-in a pool full of ice.

Scientists would later determine that her unique ratio of muscle to body fat made her anomalously suited to swimming long distances in water so cold, it would kill an ordinary swimmer within minutes. At 15, Cox swam the English Channel, breaking the world record. The next year, she went back to England and broke the record again.

It would be a mistake to think that Cox's new autobiography, Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer, is of interest only to swimmers. In fact, the book has more in common with heroic literature of the ancient world-like Beowulf and The Odyssey-than with the typical athlete's success story. Like those ancient heroes, Cox isn't satisfied with races that have a designated course. Instead, she looks for unique athletic challenges that only she can overcome. That's why, at 17, she fell out of love with channel swimming and, instead, took on the unknown-swimming icy lakes, straits and channels that had been thought impossible for a swimmer to breach. Her famous 1987 swim across the Bering Sea from Alaska to the Soviet Union took 10 years to plan, and the water, in August, was barely above freezing.

Although Cox isn't a professional writer, she has a keen eye for details that turn an important life experience into an entertaining story. Readers will be amused, for instance, by the English cab driver who told Cox she was too fat to swim the Channel-as he was driving her to the beach for that express purpose.

While other athletes were wooed by corporate sponsors, Cox had to finance her own projects. Her story is a powerful account of clinging hard to a bigger dream.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By cousette copeland on January 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I started reading Swimming to Antarctica at 8 pm and I couldn't put it down till I finished it after midnight!
Her book, her adventures, her swims, and especially Lynne herself - are all fantastic! Not only did she set and achieve personal goals, she did it keeping in mind her involvement with those around her - family, coaches, fellow swimmers, the community, and even those non-swimmers who cheered on her achievements!
I can't stop using exclamation marks because I admire and am thrilled by everything Lynne has done!
I wish the book had photographs! I wish I read Lynne's book or heard about herin high school - it might have inspired me to do more over the years.
The writing is engaging and you feel you are right in the stormy, foggy ocean or in the murky slime of the Nile or in the icy, freezing water of Antarctica. Lynne rates as high as Thor Heyerdahl (Kon Tiki) as a modern adventurer. When I saw a photograph of her in People Magazine - it was wonderful to put that smiling face to the smiling voice that comes through clearly in her writing!
I will read and re-read this book many times over the years.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Y. Zohar on December 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an avid swimmer and reader,this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. I truly admire the author's determination and swimming prowess but her character emerges as one dimensional, which I'm sure it is not. There is little reference to her non-swimming life. Am I to believe, for example, that she never had any romantic relationships all those years? Was her life entirely about long distance swimming? Where is she today, in her mid-forties?

I was also disappointed by the fact that there are no photos or maps ! How is that possible in such a book?

Also, I feel that least 50 pages of the current edition could have been dropped. I would like to have read more about Ms. Cox's training, nutrition, etc. I don't even know what she looks like (height, weight).

In short: good story, bad editor.
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