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- ISBN: 1616207868 : HRD
- ISBN: 9781616207861 : HRD
- ISBN: 9781616207861
- ISBN: 1616207868
- Physical Description: pages cm
- Edition: First Edition.
- Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2020.
- Copyright: © 2020.
- Recently Published: 5 / 5.0
|Bibliography, etc. Note:||Includes bibliographical references.|
|Formatted Contents Note:||SURVIVAL -- Stone Age swimming -- You're a land animal -- Lessons from a sea nomad -- The human seal -- WELL-BEING -- The water cure -- Seawater in our veins -- Open water, meet awe -- COMMUNITY -- Who gets to swim? -- A mini United Nations -- Chaos and order -- COMPETITION -- The splash and dash -- How to swim like an assassin -- Sharks and minnows -- Ways of the samurai -- FLOW -- A religious exercise -- The Liquid State -- From one swimmer to another.|
|Summary, etc.:||"Bonnie Tsui looks at our love affair with the water, from evolution to mythology, from survival and well-being, from community swim clubs to competitive races, and she goes around the world to explore its significance in many cultures"--|
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Publishers Weekly Review
Why We Swim
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Journalist Tsui (American Chinatown) opens her eclectic, well-crafted survey with a fascinating story about an Icelandic fisherman who swam six kilometers in 41 degree water after his boat capsized. He survived thanks to a "biological quirk"--an unusually thick layer of body fat, more comparable to a seal's than to the average human's. From this starting point, Tsui looks at five different reasons swimming is important to humans, dedicating a section to each: survival, well-being, community, competition, and "flow" (the pursuit of the sublime). Characters like the opening chapter's "real-life selkie"--a folkloric creature halfway between a human and a seal--and marathon swimmer Kim Chambers, who took up the sport after almost losing a leg to injury, appear throughout, along with scientific facts, personal stories, and social history. Tsui shares her own history as a swimmer, and swimming's place in her family history--her parents' Hollywood-worthy first meeting was at a Hong Kong swimming pool in 1968, she a "bikini-clad beauty," he a "bronzed lifeguard." In a chapter about the mindset of champion swimmers, she writes, "The view from within is what I'm after." Her overarching question is about "our human relationship to water" and "how immersion can open our imaginations." Readers will enjoy getting to know the people and the facts presented in this fascinating book. (Apr.)
Library Journal Review
Why We Swim
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
With lyrical and descriptive writing, Tsui (American Chinatown) shares different stories about our relationship with water, beginning with her own experiences swimming in the Bay Area. The book is similar to a collection of essays, wherein Tsui shares stories about others and intertwines her own voice, including recollections about going to the beach while growing up in New York. The author writes about a wide range of topics, including the history of humans swimming, from early times to the success of marathon open-water swimmer Kimberley Chambers and even a Baghdad swim club that uses Saddam Hussein's palace pool. Throughout, Tsui references literature, history, and science without overwhelming readers, who will walk away from the book learning an incredible amount of information, yet in an easy-to-digest way. VERDICT Tsui's beautifully written book will appeal to a wider audience beyond sports fans. Readers who are also interested in science and nature will appreciate this highly recommended narrative work about a therapeutic sport.--Pamela Calfo, Bridgeville P.L., PA
Why We Swim
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
In this eloquent exploration of the human relationship to water, Tsui examines "the universal experience of being immersed in water," whether it's in an ocean, lake, or swimming pool. The narrative is divided into five topics: survival, well-being, community, competition, and flow. A lifelong swimmer, Tsui deftly moves from one topic to another, weaving in her personal experiences, which include embracing open-water swimming (sans wet suit) in the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay and swimming across Lake George in upstate New York, the latter to kick off her wedding celebration. Fascinating highlights include the gripping story of an Icelandic fisherman who survives a winter shipwreck, plunging into 45-degree water and enduring a 6-kilometer swim to shore, and the story of a swimming coach who gave lessons in Saddam Hussein's palace pool. Tsui travels to Japan to learn firsthand about Nihon Eiho, also known as samurai swimming (yes, you swim in a full suit of armor). Trailblazers featured include Charlotte "Eppie" Epstein, who founded the Women's Swimming Association in 1917; legendary open-water swimmer Lynne Cox; five-time Olympian Dara Torres; and the most decorated male swimmer in history, Michael Phelps. This fascinating look at the positive impact swimming has had on our lives throughout history might leave most readers eager to get back in the water as soon as possible.