The Amateurs by David Halberstam
The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal

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Synopsis

"Astonishing . . . Moving . . . One of the best books ever written about a sport."
*Walter Clemons
Newsweek

"A PENETRATING, FASCINATING AND REMARKABLY SUSPENSEFUL NARRATIVE."
*David Guy
Chicago Tribune
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.
"RIVETING."
*Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
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 the brutal testing of their friendships."
*Dan Levin
Sports Illustrated
 

About David Halberstam

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David Halberstam was born on April 10, 1934 in New York City and later attended Harvard University. After graduating in 1955, Halberstam worked at a small daily newspaper until he attained a position at the Nashville Tennessean. Halberstam has written over 20 books including The Children, a written account of his coverage of the Civil Rights Movement; The Best and Brightest, which was a bestseller; and The Game and October, 1964, both detailing his fascination of sports. Halberstam also won a Pulitzer Prize for his reports on the Vietnam War while working for the New York Times. He was killed in a car crash on April 23, 2007 at the age of 73.
 
Published June 1, 1985 by William Morrow & Co. 221 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Sports & Outdoors, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Amateurs

Broad Street Review

working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.” This demonstration occurred when an eight-man crew from the University of Washington rowed against the “elite teams” of the world, most particularly the Germans competing “for A...

Jul 26 2016 | Read Full Review of The Amateurs: The Story of Fo...

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