All Summer Long: Tales And Lore Of Lifeguarding On The Atlantic

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9780963290670: All Summer Long: Tales And Lore Of Lifeguarding On The Atlantic
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Jersey Shore Publications, the publisher of regional bestsellers about the Jersey Shore, is pleased to announce the publication of its newest title, All Summer Long by Gordon Hesse.

All Summer Long captures behind-the-scenes stories of beach culture and life over a span of seven decades (particularly the ’60s and ’70s) as seen and told by lifeguards in their own words. Whether you are a beachgoer or one of the few who has guarded our shores, many of these accounts will bring back memories of good days gone by.

Author Gordon Hesse lifeguarded for ten years on the beaches of New Jersey and Florida. Based on his own experiences and interviews with nearly three dozen men and women lifeguards (most from Lavallette, a small coastal town on the Jersey Shore), All Summer Long is a compilation of beach tales and lore that traces the evolution of lifeguarding on the Atlantic.

Drawn from a long oral tradition, these first-person accounts and recollections tell of triumphs and tragedies and offer insight into lifeguarding’s heritage, training, hazing rituals, friendships, and social scene. Also, some of the significant changes in guarding are discussed, including the introduction and acceptance of women as ocean lifeguards.

Readers will meet these lively and interesting personalities and be transported to the beach, rowing through the waves on Hankins surfboats, looking for elusive sharks and other sea life, observing the crowds, and saving lives—culminating in "The Big Rescue," a massive Labor Day rescue involving dozens of victims.

From interviews and letters, Gordon Hesse artfully weaves the voices of these men and woman as they speak not only about lifeguarding but a full spectrum of human experience. Their words tell of growing up as children of the dunes and coming of age on the beach; they range from the serious to the light and breezy, from the tragic to the ironic and humorous.

Both profound and profane, from the poetic and sublime to the asinine, from heroic deeds to hedonistic parties and the absurd (and often cruel) humor of youth, and from dramatic rescues to heart-breaking tragedies, these stories of the small but mighty men and women who stood guard on the beach reveal a secret shared experience that has forged a bond between them that will last forever.

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About the Author:

Gordon Hesse was raised in Roselle Park, New Jersey and at the seashore resort of Lavallette. He lifeguarded for ten years on three New Jersey beaches and one in Florida.

He studied architectural design for three years at Clemson University in South Carolina and then changed majors, earning a fine arts degree in English. During his academic career, he was a marginal athlete in baseball, football, rugby, and swimming.

After graduation, he traveled to Hawaii and worked as a lifeguard, bartender, freelance photographer, filmmaker’s production assistant, and teacher.

After moving to Florida, while working as a deckhand on a shrimp boat that had mistakenly entered Cuban waters, he was arrested, accused of being a paramilitary operative, and imprisoned in Cuba for nearly ten months.

Upon his release, he became an investigator for the Ocean County, New Jersey Probation Department. Since then, he has been a writer, publication designer, and public relations counselor.

It was while meeting with generations of lifeguard friends that he realized the rich oral tradition of these men and women; he began interviewing guards from the ’30s through the ’90s, and this book took form.

Gordon Hesse lives in Ardencroft, Delaware and is currently finishing a screenplay about an obscure, 1526 Spanish expedition to Florida as well as a book about his experiences of being imprisoned in Havana fortresses.

Review:

"...a new book [to] be propped open on a beach blanket. Throws sunshine on a subject few know about." -- The News Journal (of Delaware), 7-5-05

"...a wave of inspiration..." -- Asbury Park Press, 5-1-05

"...reveals unique behind-the-scenes stories about beach culture and life over the span of seven decades." -- Cape Gazette, 7-20-05

"Hesse promises you a story you won't find in the lifegaurding manuals, and he delivers." -- Ocean County Observer, 5-19-05

"One must read book...[a] rich collection of timeless stories about love and lifegaurding...a journey into each individual personality." -- The Coast Star and The Ocean Star, 5-26-05 and 5-27-05

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