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The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal Paperback – May 7, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
The author of The Powers that Be and The Best and the Brightest tells of the dedication, competition and camaraderie of the athletes who represented the U.S. in single-scull racing events in the 1984 Olympics. "Here is Halberstam at his best," PW wrote.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
"Astonishing . . . Moving . . . One of the best books ever written about a sport."
"A PENETRATING, FASCINATING AND REMARKABLY SUSPENSEFUL NARRATIVE."
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.
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."
Top customer reviews
A more recent book on rowing, The Boys in the Boat, written about the Washington 8 man-crew heading to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, has both the drama of the rowing but also several other parallel sub plots. It is a well written and compelling story whether you are interested in the sport of rowing or just like great books.
This is the second Halberstam book I've read ('The Education of a Coach' - about Bill Belichick) and the high standards are maintained. Halberstam's ability to present wide-ranging research into a palatable read is unsurpassed in sporting literature. This is so much better than the usual, barely literate, drivel produced by retired sportsmen in order to make a quick dollar or two.
I'm now very much looking forward to Halberstam's book on Michael Jordan.