Hodding Carter

OFF THE DEEP END: The Probably Insane Idea That I Could Swim My Way Through a Midlife Crisis–And Qualify For the Olympics (2008)

Hodding Carter dreamed of being an Olympian as a kid. He worshipped Mark Spitz, swam his heart out, and just missed qualifying for the Olympic trials in swimming as a college senior. Although he didn’t qualify for the 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, or 2004 Olympics, he never stopped believing he could make it. And despite past failures and the passage of time, Carter began his quest once more at the age of forty-two.Maybe he’s crazy. But then again, maybe he’s onto something. He entered the Masters Championships. He swam three to four miles each day, six days a week. He pumped iron, trained with former Olympians, and consulted with swimming gurus and medical researchers who taught him that the body doesn’t have to age. He swam with sharks (inadvertently) in the Virgin Islands, suffered hypothermia in a relay around Manhattan, and put on fifteen pounds of muscle. Amazingly, he discovered that his heartbeat could keep pace with the best of the younger swimmers’. And each day he felt stronger, swam faster, and became more convinced that he wasn’t crazy.This outrageous, courageous chronicle is much more than Carter’s race with time to make it to the Olympics. It’s the exhilarating story of a man who rebels against middle age the only way he can—by chasing a dream. His article in Outside magazine, on which this book is based, was the winner of a Lowell Thomas award from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.

Rights: Algonquin, World

 

FLUSHED: How the Plumber Saved Civilization (2006)

When we consider the amenities that really make a difference in our well-being, surely good plumbing must rank near the top. But rarely have we taken the time to appreciate the engineering marvels that bring clean water into our homes with the turn of a tap and the flip of a lever. Until now.

Witty, anecdotal, and thoroughly entertaining, Flushed chronicles the long and notable history of plumbing, while following Hodding Carter’s travels and travails around the most underappreciated pillar of civilization. It’s a winning combination of history, science, and firsthand experience — a book that will both entertain and educate those who have never contemplated the hidden intricacies of this miracle of everyday technology.

Rights: Atria, World English; Shanghai Translation Publishing House, Mainland China; Inostranka, Russia; Prophet Press, Taiwan


STOLEN WATER: Saving the Everglades from its Friends, Foes, and Florida (2004)

When the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan went into effect during the Clinton administration, Florida’s great grassy wilderness garnered a host of national attention — and has since become a breeding ground for environmental dispute. What does it take to “save” a forest? How can it be preserved?Enter W. Hodding Carter. For an Outside magazine feature he’s agreed to paddle the ninety-nine-mile waterway in Everglades National Park to examine the landscape from all angles — physical, political, cultural, and very personal — and get to the rock-bottom heart of the story. Stolen Wateris the outgrowth of Carter’s journey.

Through investigative research, eyewitness accounts, and interviews with key players in the conservation controversy, Carter offers a rare portrait of a national treasure. Utterly important, and at times downright hilarious, Stolen Water is a classic American adventure tale, and an environmental parable for our time.

Rights: Atria/Simon & Schuster,  North America

 

A VIKING VOYAGE: In Which an Unlikely Crew of Adventurers Attempts an Epic Journey to the New World (2000)

Fascinated since childhood with Leif Eriksson’s triumphant sailing voyage a thousand years ago from Greenland to North America, Hodding Carter could not shake his admittedly crazy idea of reenacting Eriksson’s epic journey in a precise replica of the precarious Viking cargo ship known as a knarr. This extraordinary book is the account of how he pulled it off. By turns thrilling and slapstick, sublime and outrageous, A Viking Voyage is an unforgettable adventure story that will take you to the heart of some of the most magnificent, unspoiled territory on earth, and even deeper, to the heart of a journey like no other. A celebration of the people and places Carter visits and a treasure-trove of fascinating Viking lore, here is an unforgettable story of friendship and teamwork–and the thrill of accomplishing a goal that once seemed impossible.

Rights: Ballantine, North America; Bzztoh, Holland; Random House, U.K, Goldmann, Germany