Blood over Water

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9780747595151: Blood over Water
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On a blustery, overcast April day in 2003, David and James Livingston raced against each other in the 149th Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, watched by over seven million people. It was the first time brothers had battled each other in this gladiatorial and quintessentially British tradition for over a hundred years. Only one could be victorious.

In this book, David and James tell their stories for the first time, giving an intimate insight into one of our least understood but best-loved national sporting occasions. James, following in his family’s footsteps, is a student at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, while David, wanting to escape his brother's shadow, joins Christ Church College at Oxford University. As the pair embark on training loads almost beyond endurance, their stories reveal the rivalries between these ancient and great institutions.

Told in alternating narratives, Blood over Water is an emotional and searching joint self-portrait, and an account of a brotherly relationship tested to breaking point. David's fervent desire to beat his older brother pushes him on, but drives an impenetrable wedge between the siblings. As the race approaches they are unable even to speak to each other.It is only after the race, James wrestling with his final Cambridge exams, that they start to reconcile their shattered relationship, damaged by their pursuit of a shared dream.

Not only a nail-biting drama for sports fans, Blood over Water also looks at the darker side of sibling rivalry and asks just what you would be willing to sacrifice to achieve your dreams.

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About the Author:

David studied for a BA in Biological Sciences at Christ Church Oxford (2001-2004) and then stayed for a further year to complete an MSc in Management Research at the Said Business School. His main passion throughout his time at Oxford was to win the Oxford Cambridge University Boat Race. In 2003 he won the closest ever Boat Race by a margin of one foot against a Cambridge crew containing his older brother James. Since he left University he has represented Great Britain at rowing on a number of occasions. He was motivated to write a book about his experiences and relationship with his brother to try and reconcile his feelings of guilt at winning the race. He currently works as an investment analyst at a private wealth management firm.  James went up to Cambridge in 1999 to read Natural Sciences. He was twice selected for the Cambridge reserve crew, Goldie, before graduating to the Cambridge Blue Boat.James returned to Cambridge, starting a one year course in Management to give him a final chance of victory. James was again selected for the Cambridge Blue Boat but lost in the closest race of all time, against his younger brother David. James has rowed at a number of World Championships at Senior and U23 level and attended the Athens Olympics as part of Team GB. He has rowed all over the world including competitions in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, New Zealand and the United States.James lives in London and works in venture capital, investing in rapidly growing technology companies. He has written for Varsity, the Cambridge University newspaper, and had travel writing articles published in Travelbag magazine.

Review:

'The Boat Race is the most divisive event in rowing tradition an extraordinary and gripping story of a battle between brothers' Sir Matthew Pinsent 'Jumping from boat to boat, from brother to brother, you feel every physical and emotional strain as they haul their boats along the river, seeking to claim familial supremacy thrillingly relived by these two feuding siblings"' The Times 'The best race in history' Daniel Topolski 'Blood Over Water stands out from the mass of sporting memoirs thanks to the authors' open portrayal of their relationship as the build-up to the race intensifies'. The Economist

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