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Man Who Swam the Amazon: 3,274 Miles On The World's Deadliest River Paperback – Oct 1 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (Oct. 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599213583
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599213583
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #635,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You are in the river stroking for your life, clean water, friendship, peace & another world record. Feel agony & joy. HEAR the cry of the jaguar, smell the fear, dodge pirates, drug runners, crocs, anaconda, & vampire bats. The piranha tear at the wetsuit. Parasites of all kinds invade. "The Man Who Swam the Amazon" is real life non stop action written by a master.
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Format: Paperback
An interesting story but not at all well written. Matthew Mohlke writes from a very "young guy" perspective and could have stood to have a lot more editing done to his work, not only because of the numerous typos. I was aghast that he described one of the Amazon women he saw on his journey as "incredibly ugly". I had to read the sentence over a few times to make sure I read it right. An unnecessary and gratuitous comment.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I bought the book after seeing the movie. I fell in love with Martin. A perfect example of what a human being can do if they simply believe they can...and do the work. Few are as "intune" as Martin is. I truly believe he became a part of the river he swam. It's the only way one could survive.

I just loved this book. It isn't polished, but it's honest.

I like honest.
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Format: Paperback
Enjoyed the story. Martin Strel is larger than life. Inspiring and interesting.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa16a4c84) out of 5 stars 24 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa11e46e4) out of 5 stars Absolutely Incredible Story! Nov. 26 2007
By Patty Hermann - Published on
Format: Paperback
From the very first page, you know you are in for the story of your life. It is overwhelming to even think of the logistics involved in this unprecedented level of accomplishment - and even more so that it was the grueling feat of a man who, in most walks of life, would be well past his atheletic prime. Author, Matthew Mohlke, brings the reader onto the expedition, the highs and the lows. And if it is Martin's intent to remind the world of the need to preserve the beauty of our forests and rivers, he has accomplished just that with his passionate and unswerving devotion to this cause. In The Man Who Swam The Amazon, the authors share the danger and the beauty; taking the reader on a page-turning adventure that no script writer could ever improve upon. Thank you Martin and your whole incredible team for sharing all 3,274 miles with us; I could have read a page for every mile.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I absolutely could not put this book down. I read it all night. I think it is a true testament to what the human spirit can achieve. I truly believe this is one of the most amazing accomplishments in history. He did what I still have a hard time believing is possible. I think about my petty problems and they truly become non-existent when I think of what Martin did. I do long distance swimming and have a small idea of the pain and suffering he must have endured. If you have to ask "why" then this book will explain it. It was one of the most motivating books I have ever read.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa11e4b70) out of 5 stars Armchair Adventurer Alert Oct. 29 2007
By JLT Stangl - Published on
Format: Paperback
99.99999999% of us will never see, let alone float or swim down the Amazon; but if you want to feel, smell, taste, hear, what Martin Strel, Matthew Mohlke and the rest of the crew did on their 3,274 mile trip down then get this book. If you want to get insights into what might motivate those who would sign for such an adventure, get this book. Don't forget to drink plenty of water and an occassional glass of whisky.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa11e4f30) out of 5 stars A five-star story... June 30 2010
By Jonathan Sabin - Published on
Format: Paperback a four-star book.

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.

-Jonathan Sabin
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1bc3030) out of 5 stars Larger than Life - The Fish Man Oct. 25 2007
By John Pouchnik - Published on
Format: Paperback
What an exceptional and wonderful book! It was spellbinding, and I
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