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Download Cork Boat: A True Story of the Unlikeliest Boat Ever Built Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Cork Boat: A True Story of the Unlikeliest Boat Ever Built Audiobook, by John Pollack Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.61 out of 53.61 out of 53.61 out of 53.61 out of 53.61 out of 5 3.61 (23 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Pollack Narrator: Jonathan Marosz Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2003 ISBN: 9781415901984
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In the late 1990s, John Pollack was working as a Washington speechwriter when, frustrated by the cynicism and hypocrisy on Capitol Hill, he quit his job to pursue a boyhood dream: to build a boat made entirely of wine corks and take it on an epic journey.

Cork Boat tells the story of Pollack’s improbable quest. Overcoming one obstacle after another, he convinces skeptical bartenders to save their corks, corrals a brilliant but disorganized partner, and eventually cajoles more than one hundred volunteers who help build the boat until their fingers bleed. Ultimately, Pollack completes his vessel of 165,321 corks and sets sail on a fantastic voyage down the Douro River in Portugal, where the cork boat becomes a national sensation.

In recounting these adventures, Pollack skillfully meanders through fascinating arcana, from the cork wars to the history of rubber bands (some fifteen thousand of which help hold his boat together). He also offers an insider’s look at the White House, where he was a presidential speechwriter and where he enlisted navy stewards to save corks for the boat.

Written with unusual grace and disarming humor, Cork Boat is a buoyant tale of whimsy, adventure, and the power of imagination.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A Quixotic tale that made me chuckle—and brought a lump to my throat. Witold Rybczynski, author of Home
  • What can be more fun than a childhood fantasy realized and beautifully told? An absolute delight for sailors; for landspeople; for people like ourselves who delight in the simple, noble, and amusing cork, often the best part of the wine. David and Daniel Hays, authors of My Old Man and the Sea

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne | 2/20/2014

    " This is a true story about a young man who literally builds a boat out of corks. It's an interesting story of why he did it and his perserverance to make it happen. I'm not spoiling the story by telling you that it actually does get built as there is a picture of it on the cover of the book. He ends up sailing it down the Duoro River in Portugal. Great descriptions of the Portugese villages and countryside. (Joe, let us know when you will be there again as i'm ready to go back!) It's well-written (the author was a speech-writer for a time for President Clinton) and a nice book to read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gina | 2/13/2014

    " I'll be quite honest.....I just couldn't get through the darn thing. Try and try as I might I just could no longer endure the continued whining of the author. I can only imagine that building a boat out of wine corks alone must be a difficult task, it was enough to get me to pick up the book, but this might have been better settled in short story form or perhaps a narrative. Sorry Cork Boat but your maiden voyage wasn't enough to keep me sailing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki | 1/12/2014

    " I liked this book, because it told the story of trying to sail in a boat made of cork - again something I would never attempt to do. The author had numerous obstacles along the way that he had to overcome, and it was interesting to see how he made it happen. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki | 1/12/2014

    " My second "man building boat for a lifelong dream journey" book in a month. I've just picked them up from my library's new books shelf, so I'm not sure why the trend. This book was a decent read. The author was a political speechwriter so it had interesting political bits as well as revealing the whole process of building a four-person Viking long boat entirely out of wine bottle corks and rubber bands and then traveling down the Douro River in Portugal. It was a bit stressful hearing about it all, but a good combination of a project/travel/life memoir. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 1/10/2014

    " This book is non-fiction, but it reads like a novel. It's an adventure story --- a man and his dream of making a cork boat. The only part that bogged me down was the complete uselessness of the endeavor, especially since the boat only went on one voyage. If he and his countless volunteers had poured that much energy into a constructive project, would they have solved world hunger? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 1/10/2014

    " Read this little guy from Tuesday at 9pm to Wednesday at 7pm. It was interesting and the excitement was infectious. I enjoyed it a lot and it's a good, quick read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 12/29/2013

    " I'd never have picked this up to read, but someone sent it to me. It was actually very interesting, I enjoyed all the little bits of information along the way like all about the manufacturing of rubber bands. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb H. | 10/24/2013

    " Great Ann Arbor references. Wonderful if you love boats, sailing, politics.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 10/18/2013

    " Very interesting book about a guy who builds a boat made of corks from wine bottles and sails it across Spain and Portugal. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dylan Oliver | 10/8/2013

    " a gift from my girlfriend's parents, i read half of the book last night and finished it this morning. it's a fun and charming story about fulfilling your childhood dreams as an adult. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Virginia | 4/25/2013

    " I read an ARC of this in 2003, and I am still recommending it to people now. (In 2011) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlene | 11/17/2012

    " Cork Boat was delightfully written and a marvelous preparation for my cruise on the Portuguese Duoro River. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maria | 3/29/2012

    " This is a cute story, but Pollack is often self-absorbed when he ought to be funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacey | 12/10/2011

    " This man's life quest of creating a fully operational, life-size boat out of wine corks is quite compelling. The story itself is interesting, but somewhat unnecessarily detailed and long. I was also not a big fan of the reader on this particular audio recording. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 manatee | 10/21/2011

    " I learned that there are many character traits that Mr. Pollack and I unfortunately don't share. That is why he is so successful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 2/15/2011

    " Very interesting book about a guy who builds a boat made of corks from wine bottles and sails it across Spain and Portugal. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dylan | 1/23/2011

    " a gift from my girlfriend's parents, i read half of the book last night and finished it this morning. it's a fun and charming story about fulfilling your childhood dreams as an adult. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Virginia | 1/16/2011

    " I read an ARC of this in 2003, and I am still recommending it to people now. (In 2011) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rick | 12/28/2010

    " Sweet little essay on the joy of pursuing a dream. It might'nt be easy, but the rewards are spectacular. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlene | 8/28/2009

    " Cork Boat was delightfully written and a marvelous preparation for my cruise on the Portuguese Duoro River. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 8/18/2009

    " Great Ann Arbor references. Wonderful if you love boats, sailing, politics.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 5/9/2009

    " The first part of the book was a bit too whiney for me. However, once he got the boat to Portugal, the story picked up for me, and perhaps all the whining in the beginning made the final success for satisfying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 3/29/2009

    " I'd never have picked this up to read, but someone sent it to me. It was actually very interesting, I enjoyed all the little bits of information along the way like all about the manufacturing of rubber bands. "

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About the Author
Before working as a speechwriter at the White House and on Capitol Hill, John Pollack worked as a foreign correspondent, at a history museum, and as a strolling violinist. In 1995, he won the 18th Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, he lives in New York City.
About the Narrator

Jonathan Marosz has narrated dozens of audiobooks throughout his career, including numerous titles by bestselling authors David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, and Tony Hillerman.