'A jewel of a book, a paean to the wonders of water and our place within it' James Nestor, bestselling of author of Breath
'Glorious' The New York Times
Take a dive into the deep and discover what it is about water that seduces us, heals us and brings us together.
Join writer and swimming Bonnie Tsui as she explores the unique skill of swimming from the five angles of survival, wellbeing, community, competition and flow. Propelled by stories of polar swim champions, a Baghdad swim club, Olympian athletes and modern-day samurai swimmers, Why We Swim takes us around the globe in a remarkable, all-encompassing account of the world of swimming. This is a joyous meditation on our innate connection to water and a true celebration of the wonders of swimming.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 5 members
I have recently returned to swimming after injury and am loving it, so was intrigued to read this book. It begins with a relatable homage to the joy of swimming, why we love the water so much and some of the physiological benefits for our bodies. (It also lists some of the many unpleasant side effects mostly from open water swimming, ugh) The book unpicked a fascinating history of swimming in the US with an important explanation of when pools were desegregated, how many families began building their own pools to prioritise their families over community. A fascinating piece of racial history that I was unaware of. The author interviews swimmers who have used it for recovery and also those who whilst posted in Bagdad helped teach soldiers and locals alike how to swim in Sadam's pools that were previously off limits. An eclectic mix of perspectives make this an interesting and varied read. With thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I think this is the first time I've ever read a book that so neatly sums up why *I* swim. Bonnie Tsui loves the water. It shows. All the interwoven tales examine her own personal reasons as well as those from people around the world. I love that the people she speaks to are diverse in age, background, ethnicity, everything. It helps to show that no matter their background, humans love to swim. I loved this book. Incredibly well written and researched, joyful, and somewhat hopeful. Recommended for all swimmers!
As a fairly regular cold-water swimmer, I adored 'Why We Swim'. It made me eager to get back in the water, and when I was in, I dwelled on Tsui's thoughts as I powered along. The book, probably intentionally, flows through different ways of thinking about swimming in the same way that a body flows through water. Swimming to survive; swimming to recover; swimming as community; swimming as competition; swimming for nostalgia, joy, and family. It's a beautiful mix of science, memoir, biography, and sports (don't be put off by that last one - I don't read books about sports but there's a lot of brilliant content here). Tsui's prose is elegant, poignant, and calming. This book will appeal to swimmers much more so than non-swimmers - but then, as Tsui points out, a great many people in the world love to swim. (With thanks to PRH and NetGalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review)