The Crossing - James Cracknell and Ben Fogle


Mark Haddon

"An epic adventure"

Andy McNab



Another rowing book, but this one had a distinct difference to those previously reviewed - as the title implies it is about a 'crossing', crossing the Atlantic no less!  The two authors, James Cracknell and Ben Fogle are also the crazy guys doing the rowing. The enormity of the challenge coupled with their 'interesting' and often opposing characters made this a thoroughly enjoyable read!

Hardly knowing one another, Fogle and Cracknell embark on the Atlantic Rowing Race rather ill-prepared.  One can't help but cringe as they face problems only days before the race which other crews had tackled months before. The very laissez-faire approach of Ben compared to the competitive and blunt approach of James did lead to a lot of out-loud chuckling. One particularly amusing quotation came from James where, on being pulled in front of the organisers two days before the start to discuss their ill-preparedness, James opens with

"Your race is b*****ks"

In that single line, James' approach is summed-up quite nicely!

On the flip side, Ben struggles to cope with the pressure of James watching him, the pressure of being away from home and the pressure of being in the lead.  These are probably rather extreme character overviews, but they are impart true, especially in the rather extreme conditions they have to cope with. This book clearly demonstrates the amount of mental and physical endurance needed for this race. Both men went through a lot and the fact they are so open and honest about it further shows how challenging it was for them both.

It felt to me that both Cracknell and Fogle learnt a lot from their Atlantic crossing experience. Their account of the story leaves you with a feeling of respect and also as sense that, even when something seems impossible, the human body is capable of acheiving more than we give credit.



Reviewed on 10/05/2009 by Angela


Reviewed item details

ISBN: 1843545128

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