'The Last Amateurs: To Hell and Back with the Cambridge Boat Race Crew'

10/11/2008

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This Wednesday (12th November), author Mark de Rond talks about his book, 'The Last Amateurs: To Hell and Back with the Cambridge Boat Race Crew' - the first ever ethnographical study of one of the most famous rowing clubs in the world - at Heffers Bookshop from 6.30pm.

The event is ticketed and tickets are free from the cash desk at Heffers, 20 Trinity Street, Cambridge or by telephoning  01223 568568  or emailing info@heffers.co.uk

In the same vein as Louis Theroux and Bruce Parry, in The Last Amateurs, Mark de Rond offers a first-hand account of a year in the life of Cambridge University’s Boat Race crew – asking what it is like to be a member of such a community.

A dramatic and fascinating account of training as a member of the squad, The Last Amateurs - with a foreword by Sir Steve Redgrave - is an insider’s exclusive description of what it really takes to row for Cambridge, for one’s country and ultimately, what it takes to be a winner.

ITV Sports Commentator, Peter Drury said this about The Last Amateurs, after staying up all night to finish it: "Don't underestimate what an achievement this work is. The University boat clubs are very tight, closed circles and it speaks volumes for the author that he has become so trusted a member as to be allowed publicly to articulate the reality of a private season. The intensity of the boat race process is experienced on every page yet never exaggerated. This sporting institution lasts not 17 minutes but 7 months; there is much more angst than glory, gallons more sweat than Champagne, at least as much self-doubt as bravado... all of that and the tantrums and testosterone, the fall-outs and the heartbreaks are chronicled here as they never have been before. This is how it really is. Required reading for boat race cynics and afficionados alike"

‘He gives intelligent and thoughtful voice to the essentials that make up the 180-year-old Boat Race experience.... The scenes he describes are very familiar to me, as someone involved for over 40 years as an Oxford Boat Race athlete, coach and now adviser. Oxford and Cambridge are mirrors of each other, absolute partners and rivals for almost every step of the way. The internal battles for selection, friend against friend; the disappointments; the training-camp existence; the personalities - all are perfectly matched by the opposition.’ Daniel Topolski, The Guardian, August 2008

‘A colourful eye-witness account... It provides a rare glimpse of the birth, development and management of an elite team getting ready to perform under great pressure. Forget any incipient Olympics fatigue. This book has much to teach about what makes a great team tick. You won’t read a better book on teams anywhere else this year.’ Financial Times, August 13th 2008

‘Sports journalism of the highest order’ Patrick Kidd, The Times, August 2008

‘De Rond lives, breathes and sweats with the squad, seeing egos and frailties at close range. He paints their clashing characters well, detailing the battle between the British and German champions, two alpha males, who vie to occupy the prime stroke seat, and the frustrations of those on the cusp of selection.’ Patrick Kidd, The Times, August 2008


MARK DE ROND is Reader in Strategy and Organisation at the Judge Business School, Cambridge and was described by the Financial Times as ‘Cambridge’s secret weapon for the Boat Race’. His work has also featured in Time, the Economist, The Times, The Week, and on BBC Radio 4.

SIR STEVE REDGRAVE CBE is widely considered to be Britain’s greatest Olympian, having won a gold medal in rowing at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000, as well as an additional bronze medal in 1988.

For the author’s blog, please go to http://www.lastamateurs.com


The Last Amateurs: To Hell and Back with the Cambridge Boat Race Crew
£17.99 Hardback ISBN 978-184831-015-5


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For more information please contact Najma Finlay, Head of Publicity, Icon Books najma.finlay@iconbooks.co.uk

D/L  020 7700 9962