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Peter Mallory's Blog

By pmallory - Posted on 20 June 2012

29 February 2012

I look forward to seeing many friends at Mystic Seaport next weekend for the Hart Perry Reception Friday night, the Rowing History Forum during the day on Saturday and the National Rowing Foundation Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Saturday evening.

A Few Collector Sets Still Available!

Before I see you in person in Mystic, I want to officially anounce that while there are no more standard sets left in America, there indeed are a very few rare collector editions still available, initially held back by the publisher. Starting today, the American Friends of River & Rowing Museum in Henley, England, will release each of ten collector sets in return for a minimum U.S. tax-deductible charitable contribution of $5,000. They will go on a first come, first served basis. If you are interested, you may contact me directly at

Remember, there will only ever be 300 collector editions, each set consecutively numbered, signed and personally dedicated by the author, four volumes, 2,500 pages, 25 pounds (!), 8,800 footnotes, color illustrations throughout, many never before reproduced. Several sets have already been gratefully presented by me to individuals who have donated $5,000 or more. I can say with conviction that this book would never have become a reality without the enormous generosity of individuals around the World and especially in the American rowing community.

Now, I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking just about now, "How on God's Green Earth could one set of books, no matter how long and how good, be worth $5,000 to me?" That's a very good question. For an answer, I'll let a few others who already have their sets speak on behalf of The Sport of Rowing:


Jürgen Grobler, Great Britain Men’s Olympic Coach

“Peter, I have learned so much from what you have written. Your work humbles me.”

Mike Spracklen, Canada Men’s Olympic Coach

“At heart, The Sport of Rowing is an instructional manual on how to row effectively. It is extraordinarily rich in its development by example and contains the wonderful and true voices of the very people who defined the stroke and the sport. I have really enjoyed every aspect of your great book, Peter, except for toting it around.”

Bill Tytus, Pocock Racing Shells

“For a thorough understanding of rowing, for the what, the how and the why, the books making up Peter Mallory’s The Sport of Rowing certainly do it all.”

Anita DeFrantz, 1976 U.S. Olympic Bronze Medal Women’s Eight, President of the LA84 Foundation,
Vice-President of FISA and member of the USOC and International Olympic Committee

“Peter Mallory has won Olympic Gold with his four-volume history of our sport. It is a bastion of thoroughness and detail and will forever be the literary fortress of rowing for the past 150 years. This never-to-be-replicated monument of the ultimate of team sports is cherished by oarsmen and all who love the sport.”

Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., 1956 Yale Olympic Champion Men’s Eight

“Peter’s passion and exhaustive research has resulted in a Homeric work that will stand as the definitive reference for our sport for decades to come. A commendable and irreplaceable masterpiece.”

Al Shealy, legendary Harvard stroke and 1974 World Champion

“ . . . a herculean effort! So well done!”

Allen Rosenberg, U.S. World and Olympic Champion Coach

“What wonders we all have been a part of! I’m a coach who is all about being proud of our teams, complete planning and respecting our deep history, and that history depends upon the preservation of what we all have tried to do. There never has been such an effort to preserve our history before. Peter deserves a medal.

“This may be your last opportunity to own an historic and colorful work that you can pass on to your children and grandchildren to read for years to come.”

Ted Nash, 1960 U.S. Olympic Champion Men’s Coxless-Four, participant on eleven Olympic Teams

“Peter Mallory has researched and compiled a seminal work on our sport. The Sport of Rowing offers endless entertainment and information. I have never seen anything like this set of books. You find a new story of the legends in our sport on every page. Future generations will enjoy this for years to come. It is extremely well researched and a great read. I recommend it to all supporters of our sport.”

Al Morrow, Canada Women’s Olympic Coach

“Very impressive.”

Harry Parker, Harvard University Men’s Coach for 50 years

“Peter, you should feel very proud to have recorded for the first time and in such a professional and personal manner the memories and experiences of so many elite competitors in the rowing world. From day one you developed a special bond with these proud athletes and coaches. You won their trust and respect, and that has allowed the personal dialogue to flow. This has resulted in a truly unique rowing book which gives remarkable insight into our wonderful sport at its highest level.”

Tony Brook, 1982 New Zealand World Champion Men’s Eight

“The Sport of Rowing by Peter Mallory is the first and absolutely impressive encyclopaedia of Rowing and would be very valuable source of information for everyone who loves our sport.”

Dr. Valery Kleshnev, Rowing Biomechanics Newsletter,

“I treasure my edition #56 far more than what I paid for it, and I know that I will for years to come. I wish that the members of our crew who are no longer with us could have had the chance to read your masterpiece. Perhaps they are up there with their noses in Volume II right now.”

Dave Wight, 1956 Yale Olympic Champion Men’s Eight

“WOW, Peter! Each section is a jewel of history, rowers, coaches, races and context. Thank you so very much for your gift to the Rowing World. I am grateful that you have captured these people and events before they are lost to time. Thanks for the facts, insights, and amusements. I loved the thoughts of the rowers and coaches that they couldn’t or wouldn’t say at the time. Your life has been so incredibly filled with people and places, you are a really, really lucky soul.”

Jackie Zoch Major, stroke, 1976 U.S. Olympic Bronze Medal Women’s Eight

“Merriam-Webster defines ‘masterpiece’ as follows: ‘a work done with extraordinary skill; especially: a supreme intellectual or artistic achievement.’ I would add to that: ‘…and is considered as such by both amateur and expert alike.’

‘It is exceedingly rare to find works of the scope covered in Peter Mallory’s The Sport of Rowing to be other than reference books – more equivalent to encyclopaedias (or Wikipedia!). To find one that is non-fiction and encompasses virtually every aspect of the topic it covers but reads like the book you never want to put down…? That never happens!! Peter has crafted such a book. Time will tell, but certainly at this point in time The Sport of Rowing is truly ‘one of a kind!’”

Rick Crooker, Canadian Olympian, one of Ted Nash’s “Animals” at the University of Pennsylvania

“Peter, your work has been monumental in scope and substance, a true tour de force. I feel very strongly that no one will ever again write anything of this scope about rowing. It has, I’m sure, been the dream of many to do so, but only you have followed that dream to a satisfying completion.

“Your passion for the sport is incandescent and is reflected on every page. I personally have appreciated your determination to get it right, to not take the easy way, but to explore the nuances of our sport. You’ve had to deal with a great many rowing egos in your work (me not the least), and you’ve handled it with grace and fairness. I do understand that.

“I feel that in every rower those intricacies and intangibles are what hold our unending fascination with our chosen sport, and I thank you with deepest humility for your great effort in representing all of us so magnificently. I truly am grateful for what you have accomplished, in, if not an entirely thankless task, at least a wildly underappreciated one. I am proud to know you.”

Dan Lyons, Team Concepts, Inc., 1986 U.S. World Champion Men’s Coxless-Four

“As the proud owner of signed collector edition #87 of The Sport of Rowing, reflecting the year the U.S. Eight I was in won the World Championship and ended a 13 year drought, I thought that I knew more about rowing than most. It is humbling to me to look at the depth of knowledge included in this collection and realize how little I actually knew about the sport I love. The variety of styles and the cast of characters spanning the history of rowing is very impressive and very entertaining. Kudos to you, Peter, for your labor of love and your perseverance to bring this history to print.”

Jeff McLaughlin, 1987 World Champion, USA Men’s Eight, 1988 Olympic Bronze Medal Men’s Eight,
1992 Olympic Silver Medal Men’s Coxless-Four

“In creating The Sport of Rowing, Peter Mallory has given former competitors and teammates a chance to review their efforts and the efforts of friends and competitors through the comfortable lens of time. The process was a great deal of fun and a gift to all of us.”

Gregg Stone, rower of the Harvard Rude and Smooth era, 3-time U.S. Men’s Single Sculler, father and coach of Gevvie Stone.

“The Sport of Rowing is a must have for the rowing junky in all of us. It relates how rowing got here and who was responsible, the stories of those who did the coaching, the administering, and most importantly, hung on the ends of the oars (or better yet sculls) and made the sport theirs.”

Bill Belden, 1974 & 1979 World Lightweight Men’s Singles Champion

“In selflessly completing his monumental task, Peter Mallory has ensured his place in the pantheon of global sporting literature. The cost of obtaining one of the ten remaining collector editions is surely a small price to pay in support of an organisation which, like Mallory, has made, and will continue to make, a peerless contribution to our sport.”

Robin Poke, Australian rowing historian, biographer of Peter Antonie

“This book will never be duplicated in any sense; it is the definitive account of rowing - US, International, and at the various levels – as it is known today. The amount of detail and substantive analysis is not just impressive, it is mind-boggling.”

Jim Tew, 1964 Harvard Olympic Coxed-Four, 1965 Harvard Varsity Men’s Eight

“It certainly is the most comprehensive treatment of rowing that I have ever seen. Dad would be proud that you dedicated it to his memory. I’m sure he would have much enjoyed reading about and seeing pictures of people, friends and associates from his past. I was certainly absorbed by it for days. My nephew came by for a visit in January, and he was greatly entertained by pictures of Dad and the family that he had never seen before. Much credit to you. The volumes stand as a monument to the tremendous amount of work that you did to create them.”

Roger Burk, Joe Burk’s son.

“In The Sport of Rowing Peter has not only given the world the compilation of the history of our sport but the keys to success in the future. The recounts of races, techniques and eras of rowing over the last 150 years are not only interesting, but are informative to what we do today. If you are involved in our sport at any level, The Sport of Rowing is a must!”

Nick Baker, University of Pennsylvania Lightweight Men’s Coach

“What I most appreciate about The Sport of Rowing is hearing athletes speak in their own, unedited voices. It takes a rare talent to get people to reveal their deepest feelings, but you have managed it. I come away from your book with a better understanding of how emotional concentration fuels great athletic performance. Thank you for this insight.”

Duvall Hecht, 1956 U.S. Olympic Champion Men’s Coxless-Pair

“We love your books ~ gave to Cal for Christmas. Our friends and relatives have been pouring over them ever since. Thank you so much for your outstanding contribution to the sport we all love.”

Margaret Coffey, wife to Calvin Coffey, 1976 U.S. Silver Medal Men’s Coxless-Pair

“Reading Peter Mallory’s The Sport of Rowing is like having a private conversation with the very rowers who created rowing history. Credit Peter for rescuing for posterity hitherto unknown accounts of what really happened, accounts otherwise destined to be lost forever in the fading memories of the few who experienced those events. But for Peter’s reportage in Vol. II, at p.960, the rowing community would never have known how crucial to our 1964 Olympic Gold Medal victory was coach Harry Parker’s insistence that Thomi Keller halt racing in the middle of the grand finals program until a devastating cross headwind turned to direct head, thereby giving our pair the chance to compete on a level playing field with the other crews.”

Kent Mitchell, 1960 U.S. Olympic Bronze Medal and 1964 Olympic Champion Coxed-Pair

“Your magnum opus is an excellent account of the technical history of rowing that highlights so many of the greats who have been involved in our beautiful sport. Also, it has been an extremely valuable source for my second book, Hanlan's Spirit.”

Jim Joy, The Joy of Sculling

“The Sport of Rowing is an epic work, sweeping in its comprehensive analysis and illuminating in its insights. Peter Mallory navigates through the history of rowing with the detail, personal stories and engaging narrative.”

Zenon Babraj, University of Southern California Women’s Coach

“The Sport of Rowing is a long overdue, highly enjoyable and impressively professional publication. Peter Mallory has captured an incredible amount of information concerning the evolution of our sport. One has to appreciate the magnitude of this task! My hat is in the air for a most incredible job well-done!”

Rick Clothier, U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Coach

A labor of love, The Sport of Rowing is certainly and will remain a unique contribution and will serve as a guide for future generations of oarspersons and coaches. I have thoroughly enjoyed my set and am constantly in awe of the depth that you have covered the subject. For our Naval Academy boat, it helped immensely putting into perspective the chain of events leading up to 1960 and what was for us a bitter sweet experience as the U.S. Olympic Eight which broke the chain of winning.

Lyman Perry, 1960 U.S. Naval Academy Olympic Men’s Eight

“The Sport of Rowing might best be described as an encyclopedia for anyone who loves our sport. Each chapter throughout all four volumes is sprinkled with the technical evolution of the rowing stroke along with the results of most of the great regattas over two centuries. But, almost more importantly, each segment is filled with stories of the oarsmen, often told in the first person. At last we now have an anthology of rowing that can be enjoyed one freestanding chapter at a time or as a delightful text book to seriously study and learn the many aspects of our sport and gain knowledge of its luminary coaches and athletes.”

Phil Gravink, stroke of the great 1957 Cornell Varsity, 4-time IRA Champion, Grand Challenge Cup winner.

“When I was competing, I always went into some “zone” and never remembered the “bowball-to-bowball” account of a race. I loved hearing the stories of my own races then or years later from my boatmates, some of whom had even journaled daily practices and seat races. What Peter has done in his magnificent tome is to assemble the bowball-to-bowball account of rowing itself! The Sport of Rowing is as if all the great masters of the craft were in your living room at the same time swapping lies and pithy truths about the sport we all love. Once you pick one of the volumes up (which requires pre-read weight training), it is hard to put it down!”

Monk Terry, stroke, 1972 U.S. Olympic Men’s Eight

“No doubt the most effective way of moving a boat has been hotly debated since oars were first dipped in water. Peter Mallory set out to find the advocates and their arguments, and in doing so began a journey of such length and diversity that I bet he wouldn’t have set off if he’d realised it would last seven years and reach four giant volumes. Personally I couldn’t care a bell note for the nuances of the Washington Stroke from Conibear to Ernst or the ripples of Fairbairnism from Jesus and Pembroke to Thames and London, or orthodox back angles from Warre to Spracklen. But for me the great thing about Mallory’s opus is the anecdotes uncovered on the way. The Sport of Rowing is a long draft spiced with cocktails and pick-me-ups, full of argument, quotable quotes and stories of coaches and their mentors world-wide. This epic exploration of ideas is a hugely entertaining debate, and what Peter and his book deserve is for the conversation to continue. Dip in and enjoy.”

Chris Dodd, world-renouned historian, River & Rowing Museum, and author of Pieces of Eight

“For a sport that has existed for centuries, it is exceedingly difficult to provide a meaningful overall perspective along with the human and rowing event detail that give it life. For the first time, Peter Mallory has done that. Only the passion he has always had for rowing could have produced the 7-year effort that has brought to life the inside stories of so many world class boats and their athletes, all this while putting it into a perspective that had not previously been understood. Results of major rowing races are one thing, but no one would ever know of what dedication, disappointments and lessons learned lay behind them, were it not for this unique and complete history of rowing that has preserved all that for generations to come. All rowers, including those who have not yet picked up and oar, owe Peter a special debt of gratitude.”

Peter Bos, Captain, 1960 U.S. Naval Academy Olympic Men’s Eight

“Peter, since my retirement, I have spent literally thousands of hours looking into my own family past, using actual genetic markers and other historical sources. I have been able to go back for the families of my parents and grandparents perhaps as far as you did with the history of rowing. That has given me a tremendous appreciation about where I fit in my family tree, and it helps me understand some of my personality traits that seem to have been transmitted through my genetic code. This is in complete agreement with my ‘genetic’ history in rowing. I can see where I came from, where my ‘DNA’ was formed, and how I personally fit into the rowing family.

“I believe that everyone who has pulled an oar appreciates the beauty of the sport, but only through your book is it possible to trace oneself through the family tree that is rowing . I can see where my coaches, Ted Nash, Joe Burk and Dietrich Rose, came from. I can also look to who their ancestors were, and that is a magical view for me of my rowing DNA. If there really are ‘Six Degrees of Separation,’ I think that by using your book it’s possible to go back to the first pages in volume 1 to get a linear path to modern rowers.

“Thanks for the work you did.”

Luther Jones, 1968 University of Pennsylvania Olympic Men’s Coxed-Four, 1972 College Boat Club Olympic Men’s Coxed-Pair