Search for your sports books:

Featured Publisher: John Blake
Apart form its current publications, John Blake Publishing has a sizeable back list of acclaimed sporting titles. These include biographies of stars such as Roger Federer, WG Grace, Fernando Torres and Frankie Dettori. For more information, visit www.blake.co.uk



Read Review
<back to archive

The Last Amateurs by Mark de Rond

Release date: 11th November, 2008
Publisher: Icon Publishing

List Price: £16.49
Our Price: £8.09
You Save: £8.4 (50%)
Buy Now

The Last Amateurs
To Hell and Back with the Cambridge Boat Race crew
By Mark de Rond
Icon Publishing

4sportsbooks.co.uk price: £8.09, saving 55% on rrp

In recent years, the Boat Race has become the only university sporting event capable of producing international-class athletes, most of whom could walk straight into national teams.


At any time, around one third of most British men's rowing teams comprises former Boat Race athletes. While sponsorship and lottery support have made an enormous difference to athletes in the national team, the Boat Race provides no direct financial benefit, ensuring that rowers may rightly claim to be the last amateurs.


Oxford-educated Mark de Rond follows the lives of the exceptional group of rowers who form part of the 2007 Cambridge crew during the six months in which they prepare for the varsity contest.
It's an ambitious, but nonetheless interesting project that succeeds in pulling him further into events as well as the personal lives of his subjects.


De Rond starts by examining the motivations of this elite group of men: what, he wonders, drives them to endure the hardship and sacrifice of the most intense competitive pressure. Later he notes the inevitable battles for selection; the equally inevitable disappointments; the spartan existence.
He appreciates the essentials required of any top-class athlete: their drive and desire paradoxcally coupled with an underlying need for an espirit de corps. Eventually, the final eight are selected, but only after 20 or so others have been cast aside.
The final Cambridge crew included five world and Olympic medallists (three of them gold), which made them the most star-studded eight to grace the Boat Race for many years. Nevertheless, while they eventually won, it was by barely more than one length, a performance which says as much about Oxford's courageous efforts as it does about those of the successful eight.
By the time the final eight are selected, de Rond has given himself a leading role in his story and in fairness, he is called upon to help resolve disputes and on one occasion is given responsibility for chairing a critical meeting.
Perhaps this focus on his involvement with the team caused a serious omission, for following the event, it transpired that one of the most vital members of the Cambridge boat was, in fact, ineligible to compete as he had not completed an academic course at Cambridge. He left as soon as the race was complete to join the German national team. This was in violation of one of this amateur event's few rules - that competitors are bona fide members of the university.
Despite this, de Rond provides a fascinating insight into the machinations of a race now 180 years old; he succeeds in making clear that while technically amateurs, the men who row in the Boat Race tackle everything with a rare sense of professionalism.


<back to archive


Toolstation


SBOTM Current Top 10

Ali: A Life By Jonathan Eig
Simon & Schuster
Read Review Buy Now
A Clear Blue Sky By Jonny Bairstow with Duncan Hamilton
Harper Collins
Read Review Buy Now
From Orient to the Emirates The Plucky Rise of Burnley FC By Tim Quelch
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now
Ascent By Sir Chris Bonnington
Simon & Schuster
Read Review Buy Now
The Way of the Runner A Journey Into the Fabled World of Japanese Running By Adharanand Finn
WW Norton
Read Review Buy Now
The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics By Michael Cox
Harper Collins
Read Review Buy Now
Through Sand and Snow By Charlie Walker
Charlie Walker
Read Review Buy Now
Graham Taylor: In His Own Words By Graham Taylor
Peloton Books
Read Review Buy Now
Lillee and Thommo The Deadly Pairís Reign of Terror By Ian Brayshaw
Hardie Grant
Read Review Buy Now
Unbreakable By Jelena Dokic with Jess Halloran
Ebury Press
Read Review Buy Now

Amazonís top 6 best-sellers

© Sharks Media Ltd 2004 Ė 2012. Site designed and maintained by Marcus Hamblett for Furydesign.