Book Description

From Publishers Weekly After a three-year stint as a freelance foreign correspondent in Spain, Pollack returned to the U.S. to win the 1995 O. Henry World Championship Pun-Offs and work as a speechwriter for House Democratic Whip David Bonior. Disillusioned by Capitol Hill hypocrisy, hyperbole and political rhetoric, he yearned for a 'creative sabbatical.' 'Deep down, I knew I had to get out before the rising bile of my cynicism poisoned the last of my idealism.' The 'antithesis of everything Washington,' he decided, would be to build a boat from wine corks, a dream project since his childhood. Teaming with architect Garth Goldstein and collecting corks during visits to D.C. restaurants, Pollack also received some hefty donations: 15,000 corks from California's Cork Supply USA and an equal number of rubber bands from Arkansas's Alliance Rubber. Despite such inroads, Pollack's boat building endeavors went on the back burner when he was invited to join Bill Clinton's speechwriting team. He shares a brief glimpse of White House life, then gets back to boat-building. After several months (and with the help of dozens of volunteers), the boat was finally assembled with 165,321 corks and 15,000 rubber bands. Sailing on a cresting wave of media attention, Pollack landed a sponsorship from Cork Supply and navigated his 22-foot boat down the Douro River in Portugal (the birthplace of cork); the concluding chapters detail that operation's loony logistics. Although a cork boat drawing (not seen by PW) is included, it's not always easy to visualize the boat's construction from the text description. Nevertheless, Pollack offers an amusing tale, with entertaining anecdotes constantly bobbing to the surface.Copyright ? Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. Read more From School Library Journal Adult/High School-Pollack tells how he realized his lifelong dream of building a boat from wine-bottle corks. The project involved calling on restaurants (an agonizingly slow process that he grew to loathe); boat design (and redesign) with his architect partner; asking for 60,000 free corks from a supplier; construction (with numerous setbacks) in a Washington, DC, garage by dozens of volunteers who came and went; and the stressful completion of the vessel just barely in time to meet his third self-imposed deadline. The boat was shipped to Portugal (the home of cork) for a trip down the dam-filled Douro from the Spanish border to the Atlantic, with his codesigner and a few family members and friends along to help row. The journey took much longer than planned. This wonderfully inspiring story, told in an amusing and suspenseful way, shows how hard work and perseverance can make improbable dreams happen. Pollack gives credit to his project partner, who remains a friend even though they had serious differences along the way. His tone is so can-do and engaged with life that it cannot fail to affect readers positively.-Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA Copyright ? Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. Read more See all Editorial Reviews