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.
Table of Contents
1 The Practice
2 The Beginner
3 The Coach
4 The Greeks
5 The Race
6 The Return