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Rowing Against the Current: On Learning to Scull at Forty
Synopses & Reviews
In the midst of a standard midlife crisis — complete with wine-tasting, yoga classes, and a failed attempt at a first novel — forty-year-old Barry Strauss falls unexpectedly and passionately in love with rowing, a sport in which a twenty-seven-year-old is a has-been.
Strauss, a classics professor, writes about the unanticipated delights of an affair that, like so many others, begins as a casual dalliance and develops into a full-blown obsession. Drawn to the sport in part because of his affinity for Greek antiquity, he develops a love for old boathouses, a longing for rivers at dawn, a thirst to test himself, and, ultimately, a renewed sense of self-reliance — as someone who had experienced sports humiliation as far back as Little League suddenly finds himself bursting into athleticism at an unlikely age.
From the awe-inspiring feats of the war-bound Greek triremes with their crews of 172 men rowing on three levels to the solitary pride of finishing a first race in which he gets stuck in the weeds and had to be fished out, Barry Strauss shows us why "there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half as much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
Includes bibliographical references (p. -175).
About the Author
Barry Strauss is director of the Peace Studies Program and a professor of history and classics at Cornell University. He lives near Ithaca, New York.
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