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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 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: January 2004 ISBN: 9780739310045
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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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jc | 12/27/2013

    " A surprisingly interesting story of a Washington speech writer's obsession with a childhood dream to build and sail a boat made entirely out of wine corks. A fun, odd memoir that makes one want to a) build a boat and b) visit Portugal. Read it -- you'll probably be surprised how much you like it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meagan | 12/2/2013

    " For me, the biggest danger in reading books of unlikely adventure in beautiful locales is that I'm immediately struck with the intense desire to do something amazing and travel the world. This is exactly what happened when I read Cork Boat. It's the story of John Pollack and Garth Goldstein, and their unusual project of building a replica Norse longboat completely out of wine and champagne corks. John Pollack, who came up with the idea as a child, spent his entire life saving corks with the intention of one day achieving his childhood dream. In the meantime, he led a fascinating life in its own right. His father, an academic, did a lot of fieldwork which brought his family all around the world to experience both wonder and tragedy. John himself, the winner of the 18th Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, also became a speechwriter for President Clinton and a staff writer for an Antarctic expedition. But it's the Cork Boat that's truly the heart of this story. Pollack describes the intense challenge of finding enough corks (nearly 1/3 of a million) to build the boat, finding an appropriate way to build with them, and then rallying friends and family to complete the arduous task of constructing the boat. The whole endeavor is topped off by what they imagined as a leisurely drift down the Douro River in Portugal. Needless to say, not everything goes smoothly. Nevertheless, Pollack's story is humorous and poignant and inspiring. I heartily enjoyed reading it, and have become interested in the history of both Portugal and the humble cork. Most of all, I've been inspired to revisit my childhood dreams and wonder, perhaps . . . . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 10/23/2013

    " This book reminded me of my Dad and the crazy things he did to complete his Phoenix project. Kind of nice to read about a dreamer that actually realizes his vision. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlene | 10/21/2013

    " 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 Wendy | 9/29/2013

    " 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 Christi Barth | 9/10/2013

    " Very enjoyable. Tempted occasionally to slap the hypocriscy out of the author, but overall an entertaining read of an improbable yet captivating memoir. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laurie Rapp | 4/17/2013

    " Being from DC, I love it. Reminding one of one's old drinking holes is always fun. I am in the middle of the book, and am rooting for John to make it float. I just got over his comical introduction to the glue gun. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 11/20/2012

    " 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! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jette | 6/29/2012

    " I mean, a grown man creates a boat out of wine corks and rubber bands. How cool is that? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maria | 4/14/2012

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

  • 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

John Pollack is the author of Cork Boat and The Pun Also Rises. In addition to working at the White House, John Pollack has spent more than a decade as a communications consultant for Fortune 100 companies and public sector leaders. Earlier, he worked as a Capitol Hill speechwriter, foreign correspondent, and project manager at the Henry Ford—a museum of American innovation. He lives in New York City.