Monday, May 11, 2009

The Reviews Are In

Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World, the story of the first woman to swim the English Channel, comes out in July.

A few early reviews:

from PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY April 2009 (Starred review):

Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World Glenn Stout. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24 (352p) ISBN 978-0-618-85868-2

In 1926, 19-year-old Trudy Ederle fascinated and inspired millions around the world when she became the first woman successfully to swim the English Channel. With great storytelling, sportswriter Stout (series editor of The Best American Sports Writing) chronicles Ederle's singular accomplishment and its significance for the future of women in sports as well as the tremendous challenges for any swimmer who would dare traverse the waves of the channel. At age five, Ederle (1905–2003) suffered permanent hearing loss, which made her reticent and shy; at age 10 her father taught her to swim. The ocean opened to her like another world, and she loved the feeling of floating and swimming in its vastness. After lessons at the Women's Swimming Association, Ederle developed her gift and emerged as one of America's fastest swimmers, earning a spot in the 1924 Olympics. Disappointed by winning only a bronze medal, she quickly turned to the challenge of swimming the English Channel—difficult due to its strong tides, winds and currents—and after an initial failure, Ederle conquered the channel on August 6, 1926. Stout's moving book recovers the exhilarating story of a young girl who found her true self out in the water and paved the way for women in sports today. (July)

The next one is a paired review, reviewing my book and another about Ederle that comes out a bit later this year. I've excised comments about the other book, but highlighted the important part

from Library Journal, May issue:

Trudy Ederle, who died in 2003 at age 98, was the first woman to swim the English Channel, in 1926. For several years, her fame had been uproarious, her achievement thought earth-shattering. She enjoyed New York's biggest ticker tape parade, had her own swimsuit line, and had Americans rethinking women's athletic capabilities. After a semisuccessful vaudeville tour, her career declined; she turned to giving children swimming lessons and, later, selling dresses in a shop. Although the shy and hard-of-hearing Ederle failed to cash in on her fame, she felt satisfied with her career and resented those who deemed her ultimate anonymity a tragedy. These two biographies help readers understand the age of "ballyhoo" and "wonderful nonsense," as Stout cites sportswriter Westbrook Pegler referring to the Twenties... [Stout was] able to re-create vividly the dramatic events, largely from published reporting and interviews… Stout, who has edited The Best American Sports Writing annually, delves into the history of U.S. swimming, how geology shaped the fearsome tides and currents in the channel, and Ederle's failed first attempt…a popular social history that brings to life a woman, her era, and her remarkable feat. Both books make for very entertaining reading, with Stout's given a slight edge for more picturesque writing. Recommended for all scholarly as well as public libraries.

ISBN: 9780618858682
Pub date: July 28, 2009

1 comment:

  1. One of my High School science teachers (Chemistry, I believe) was related to Gertrude Ederle. His last name was Ederle as well, and I think she may have been his Great Aunt. I don't remember his first name (it was back in the early 80's), and I don't know the exact connection.

    But I always remember him telling us about her. Sounds fascinating. I will have to pick it up. Best of luck with it!