- You'll save an extra 5% on Books purchased from Amazon.ca, now through July 29th. No code necessary, discount applied at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Man Who Swam the Amazon: 3,274 Miles On The World's Deadliest River Paperback – Oct 1 2007
Special Offers and Product Promotions
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From the Back Cover
Thirty-two hundred miles, piranha, crocodiles, anaconda, river sharks, blistering and relentless sun,dangerous currents, river pirates and drug runners, and the insidious candirú. Martin Strel swam through it all. Why? To call attention to the continued deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and to river pollution. By the time he finished this epic swim from the river’s source in the Peruvian Andes to the delta in the Atlantic headwaters near Belém, Brazil, Martin Strel was almost dead, straining with the remaining shadows of his strength to reach the finish line. His blood pressure was at heart attack levels, his entire body filled with subcutaneous larvae, and he was besieged by dehydration, diarrhea, and exhaustion. Drawn from the eloquent and evocative trip diaries of writer Matthew Mohlke, who, armed with buckets of blood to divert piranha, guided Strel, The Man Who Swam the Amazon is a gripping and inspirational story of perseverance, passion, and endurance: a real-life odyssey of a rare and driven man.
About the Author
Martin Strel is one of the most elite athletes in history. He holds three Guinness world records in distance swimming, and is about to earn his fourth for his Amazon swim. He earned his first Guinness in 2000 for swimming the entire Danube river, 1,867 miles, over 58 days. He then broke his own record in 2002, by becoming the first person to swim the entire Mississippi, 2,360 miles, in 68 days. In 2004, he broke his own record again by swimming 2,488 miles of the Yangtze. He broke his record once again with the Amazon swim. Martin also holds a world record for continuous swimming, 313 miles in 84 hours in the Danube, which he completed in 2001. He is also the first person to swim the entire 1,200 miles of the Paraná river, from Iguazu Falls to Buenos Aires. Martin has been swimming for years under slogan “swimming for peace, friendship and clean waters.” His swim on the Mississippi was dedicated to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, for which he achieved special recognition by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and for which he was received at the UN by Kofi Annan. Later, the U.S. Congress passed a special resolution honoring Martin for his achievements and generosity. Matthew Mohlke graduated from Winona State University summa cum laude with a double major in marketing and psychology. One day, he scribbled ten dreams he had in his life on a bar napkin. He realized he couldn't get there if he didn't leave the next day. He promptly traded a promising Fortune 500 sales job for a life of adventure. He’s spent the last ten years bartending and delivering cars around the USA, working just long enough to save a few dimes for the next expedition or other existential excursion. Highlights of his adventures include paddling the entire Mississippi river twice, once in 79 days by canoe solo in 1999, and once in 68 days with Martin Strel as his lead guide in a 2002 Guinness record swim; paddling the Paraná river with Martin in 2003; and 703 cross-country car deliveries, in which he recently completed a tour of all 30 Major League baseball stadiums.
Top Customer Reviews
The telling of the story would have been much better served if it had been written as a straight account of the swim, and not drawn from the Mohlke's diary entries. Usually I think the book versions of stories are much better than the movie versions, but this is one story that I look forward to seeing the movie version of (filmmaker John Maringouin's upcoming "Big River Man") and hope that it is a much better documentation of Martin Strel's swim than Mohlke's account.
As an admitted "armchair adventurer" this book was a big disappointment and it was only because of wanting to find out how Strel finished his swim that I even finished reading it.
I just loved this book. It isn't polished, but it's honest.
I like honest.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
You know where Key West, Florida is, right? It's a long drive down the so-called "Overseas Highway" about three hours from Miami. How about Sacramento, California? Clear on the other side of the country, in the northern half of the state, California's capital happens to be 3,274 miles (by car) from Key West.
That's a long drive. Fifty-two hours in fact. So for someone driving 12 hours a day, the cross-country excursion would take over four solid days of driving.
Which makes it an unimaginable distance to SWIM. Yet ultra-marathon swimmer Martin Strehl did just that. Following the curving passage of the world's longest river from Peru, through Brazil, and out to the Atlantic, Strehl swam 3,274 miles in ten weeks -averaging over 45 miles per day.
Of course, there's the current. He did not swim upstream, rather, he swam downstream, taking advantage of an often swift current, which means that even a floating piece of flotsam would EVENTUALLY make its way out of the river. But still. Swimming with the current does not make swimming the breadth of a continent any less impressive. In fact, the author writes of an afternoon where world-class competitive swimmers jumped in to swim alongside Strehl. These were young, sleek, physically-impressive athletes, (unlike Strehl, a somewhat overweight 52-year-old who looks a little like the actor Randy Quaid), who entered the water after he had about 1000 miles of the river behind him --yet after about an hour or so, he left them in his wake. They climbed onto the boats, probably feeling somewhat dejected at having been shown up by a bear of a man old enough to be their father.
Matthew Mohlke's diary-like account of the incredible swim is a quick and fascinating read. He may not be the best writer in the word -his writing tends toward short, staccato-like sentences--but the story itself carries the book. And Mohlke was actually part of the support team. As the head navigator for Strehl, it was his job to ensure that the massive swimmer did not encounter dangerous obstacles such as submerged trees and hungry crocodiles, and that he was always headed in the right direction.
It's a solid four-star book that I would offer only one suggestion with regard to improving the story. Each of the chapter titles includes the date and the name of the city from which Strehl started swimming. Although the body of the book includes statements such as "Martin cranks out another 72 miles," on a given day, there's no real "running total," since many days in Mohlke's account did not make it into the book. I would have found it helpful and interesting if each chapter heading included the running total in addition to the date and the name of the city.
couldn't put it down. As others have said, we followed the daily blog,
but the book took us to a different level; we felt like we were there with Martin and the team. We were fortunate to meet Martin, Matt and Borut on the Mississippi River swim. The book of Martin's latest accomplishment will hold your interest and keep you yearning for more. That will happen when the film is released early next year.
John and Jo Pouchnik, Virginia, Minnesota