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Swim: Why We Love the Water [Hardcover]

Lynn Sherr

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Book Description

April 3 2012
'Swim' is a celebration of swimming and the effect it has on our lives. It's an inquiry into why we swim-the lure, the hold, the timeless magic of being in the water. It's a look at how swimming has changed over the millennia, how this ancient activity is becoming more social than solitary today. It's about our relationship with the water, with our fishy forebearers, and with the costumes that we wear. You'll even find a few songs to sing when you push out those nextlaps.Swimming enthusiast Lynn Sherr explores every aspect of the sport, from the biology of swimming to the fame of Esther Williams; from turquoise pools and wild water to the training of Olympians; and she reveals the secret of buoyancy so that anyone can avoid the example of the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who lamented, "Why can't I swim, it seems so very easy?" When his friend, the biographer Edward John Trelawny, said, "because you think you can't," Shelley plunged into Italy's Arno River and dropped like a rock. With 'Swim', you can avoid that happening to you.

 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (April 3 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610390466
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610390460
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #267,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Esther Williams

“Lynn Sherr’s book, SWIM, will help water be your friend and it will be the best friend you'll ever have.  I'm proud to be a part of that.”


Lynne Cox, open-water champion; author, Swimming to Antarctica
“I couldn’t put this book down.  It’s a swimming party, with glamorous stars, ancient warriors and lovers, and some of the greatest and wildest swimmers.  It’s a story full of zen and exuberant energy and merriment.  If you love to swim, you’ll love SWIM!”
 
Kirkus Reviews

“A collection of swimming traditions and anecdotes wrapped in a celebration of the pleasures involved…. Her enthusiasm propels the book forward. That enthusiasm bleeds over into her history of swimming, which has a gratifyingly great sweep. From start to finish, she searches for the essence of why swimming has touched so many, be it Oliver Sacks (‘I never knew anything so powerfully, so healthily euphoriant’) or Chairman Mao (‘Do you swim? Water is a good thing’). Sherr sends a sweet valentine, with enough background to keep it interesting, to a love that has never let her down."

 
Wall Street Journal
“What is there to say about such a solitary and inward experience?  Plenty, as it turns out. In Swim: Why We Love the Water, Lynn Sherr… pulls us into the subject … and interweaves it within her version of a quest romance: Can this 60-something grandmother achieve her goal and swim the Hellespont—the legendary strait that runs between the Aegean Sea and Turkey's interior? ... Ms. Sherr writes personably and moves her reader through her narrative at a pleasing pace … What Ms. Sherr does best is describe the pleasures of the water, of finding yourself while losing yourself, giving yourself up to the supporting medium. … and every chapter of the book builds her personal narrative while placing it in the context of often fascinating mini-treatises on subjects that reach beyond the water. … She writes interestingly about women and bathing suits (Diana Vreeland pronounced the bikini "the most important thing since the atom bomb") and about the effects of water on women's hair, topics that become, with her attention, more than merely peripheral.” 
 
Sports Illustrated
“A witty and informative celebration of her sport, as well as an inspiring tale of personal challenge and discovery…. [Sherr] immerses the reader in the history, lore, science and trivia of swimming. In barely 200 pages of buoyant prose illustrated with photos, diagrams and swimming art, Sherr presents an enormous amount of aquatic info—from the origins of strokes and the evolution of swimwear to the physiology of Olympic swimmers; from the skinny-dipping habits of John Quincy Adams to whether giraffes can swim. (Yes, just not well.) Best of all, Sherr captures the physical thrill of the one human activity that takes place in a completely alien element. Dive in.”
 
Town & Country
“A delicious, inspiring love-letter to swimming from former ABC correspondent Lynn Sherr. In between tales of swimsuits past and present, the stellar performances of Annette Kellerman and Esther Williams, and the magic of champion swimmers, Sherr chronicles her own attempt to swim across the Hellespont from Europe to Asia, following mythological lover Leander and romantic poet Lord Byron.”
 
O Magazine
“From the evolution of our ‘aquatic ancestors’ to the trauma of bathing suit shopping, these essays examine the sport of swimming from every angle.”
 
Open Water Swimming, Steve Munatones
“A joy to read … and re-read…. Each chapter moves smoothly and swiftly like the swimming strokes of the most graceful aquatic heroes and heroines. Looking down on each page of Lynn’s book is similar to swimming over a coral reef: you are not quite sure what you are going to come across next, but you are sure enough to enjoy it when you do. Lynn literally covers thousands of years of history, along with nearly 100 photos, engravings and images that like perfectly placed currents gently pushing the reader towards the end of an extraordinarily well-written and deeply researched page turner.”
 
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Charming… Swim is a book-length love letter to [Sherr’s] favorite sport.”
 

Boston Globe
“[A] breezy, amiable meditation…. [Sherr’s] enthusiasm for the subject —‘I have never had a bad swim,’ she writes at one point — buoys us along as she interviews competitive swimmers, biologists, and the president of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.”
 
Chicago Tribune
“Swimming may be Sherr's salvation, but one needn't be an enthusiast to be charmed by this graceful memoir.”

Financial Times

“In Swim, a joyful plunge into the history, lore and legend of swimming, US journalist and avid swimmer Lynn Sherr explores the pleasures of gliding through cool waters while preparing to follow Leander and Byron and cross the Hellespont herself.”


San Francisco Chronicle
"A thorough celebration of swimming, and what it has taught us over the centuries.”
 

Washington Post
“This book will enchant anyone who’s drawn to water, whether you swim once a week at the local pool or dedicate your life to briny challenges…. Beautifully illustrated with maps, texts and rare images of swimming—from Egyptian hieroglyphs through Hollywood to the Olympic Games. [Sherr] delivers it all in beautiful prose: She is an award-winning writer and broadcast journalist, a well-known face on ABC News for 30 years. This is Sherr in her element, eagerly sharing her life’s passion through an assiduous look at swimming and what it means. Perhaps the tiny swimmer breaststroking over and over again at the foot of each page is Sherr herself…. SWIM is the only book I’ve ever read that gathers together everything we love about swimming in one volume. It’s all here. And its enticing blend of personality and passion will draw you in, just like an irresistible glimpse of a lake on a hot summer’s day.”
 
Jane Brody,  New York Times
“Sherr celebrates the culture, history and physical and mental rewards of this ancient sport."


The Economist
“Ms. Sherr weaves notes from her year of magical training for the Hellespont swimathon into a highly readable celebration of man’s water history and the lure of the blue—what Wallace Stevens called ‘the basic slate, the universal hue’—that has attracted swimmers from Neptune to Nemo.” 


About the Author

Broadcast journalist and writer Lynn Sherr was an award-winning correspondent for more than thirty years at ABC News. She is the author of 'Tall Blondes: A Book About Giraffes' ; 'Outside the Box: A Memoir' ; 'America the Beautiful: The Stirring True Story Behind Our Nation's Favorite Song' ; and 'Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Words'. She coedited 'Peter Jennings, A Reporter's Life'. She lives in New York.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully Entertaining! March 25 2012
By Elaine K. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I first learned about Lynn Sherr's book when she contacted me about a thread I had started on the U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums, "You KNOW you're hooked on swimming when..." She asked permission to use some of my posts which ultimately ended up on Page 37 of her book, along with posts from another thread, "You know you're a swimmer if..." I, of course, was tickled! But, more importantly, I am glad I learned about the book, because it was a delightfully entertaining read- and, a wonderful keepsake. The photos and artwork makes this a book for your collection to look back on; especially if you are as much of a swim enthusiast as I am.

"Swim" is a wonderful collection of swimming history, as well as personal perspective from the author herself, as she weaves her experience of tackling an open water swim, from Europe to Asia, throughout the book. And, it is all done with flashes of humor, making Lynn's book quite enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on swimwear; what a hoot!

If swimming is your passion, "Swim" is your book, just for the pure joy of it!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating on many levels May 6 2012
By Nancy A - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am not a swimmer, but when a friend who does swim told me about this book, I bought it and was delighted by it. It is fascinating from many points of view, including how mythology and history have evolved through our connections to the water and swimming. It also offers informative insights into athletes and their regimens. And, at the heart of it, is the author's account of swimming the Hellespont, a romance with the sport that, like all good romances, should appeal even to those who may only enjoy it vicariously.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twisting by the Pool July 27 2012
By Gail A - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fascinating book, full of interesting facts and details. I always thought Lynn Sherr was just another super hot, TV news bit of eye candy who traded on her good looks. Who knew she could write so well? My only complaint is the book gets ruined if you take it in the water.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Swimming Jan. 30 2013
By Bowating - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A history of swimming, swimming pools, swimsuits and swim strokes along with tips on techniques and the author's own story of swimming the Hellespont. An easy enjoyable read. Made me want to get back in the water.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Title says it all ! July 15 2012
By Fish66 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are a lap swimmer, master's swimmer, triathlete, or open water swimmer, you need to read this book. Interesting, informative, and fun, the author reinforces why we who participate in the water in some capacity actually love the water - embrace the water, look forward to the water. What a blessing for those of us who love the water! And the benefits are all good ! I am grateful for being a swimmer and proud that I share the love with Greek philosophers, poets, authors, generals, Benjamin Franklin, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lynn Sherr!

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