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Extended Audio Sample Cork Boat: A True Story of the Unlikeliest Boat Ever Built, by John Pollack Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (279 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Pollack Narrator: John Pollack Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 15,000 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 enlisted navy stewards to save corks for the boat.

Written with unusual grace and disarming humor, Cork Boatis 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 by Anna | 2/17/2014

    " 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 by Scott | 1/21/2014

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

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Virginia | 1/10/2014

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

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Cindy | 1/5/2014

    " 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. "

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