Customer Reviews for

Swimming Across: A Memoir

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2001

    Powerful Scenes from a Remarkable Life!

    Regardless of what you think about this book, everyone will agree that Dr. Grove has accomplished a great deal in his life. He is clearly a five-star person! Although I knew that Dr. Grove had been one of the most successful CEOs ever (having studied his work for many years) and that he was a Hungarian refugee, I knew little else. Apparently, that was a purposeful decision that Dr. Grove began to reverse in 1997 when he was interviewed for Time¿s Man of the Year award. The book is not the sort of autobiography that most of us are used to reading. Swimming Across is mainly different in that it builds around a series of anecdotes and scenes, which provide an indelible flavor without showing the whole story. Many of the scenes are not particularly important, but all combine to provide a piece of the puzzle of who Dr. Grove was and how he became who he is today. The material is almost totally focused on the first 20 years of his life, from the time he was born in Hungary through the first few months of his arrival in the United States. The book is above all very inspiring. This occurs at several levels as you consider the obstacles that he had to overcome. Dr. Grove had physical disabilities to overcome (the loss of 50 percent of his hearing at four and a weak heart from Scarlet Fever at the same age). In Hungarian society, his family¿s Jewish background led to severe challenges (his father being sent off with a labor battalion in World War II in which only 10 percent survived after maltreatment by both Hungarians and then by the Soviet military forces, many relatives being sent to Auschwitz and killed there, and anti-Semitism in day-to-day life and official actions) which had to be surmounted. Due to the disruptions of World War II, Soviet hegemony, and repression of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, his education was often disrupted. He escaped Hungary with very little money, and not enough knowledge of technical English to do university-level work, at a time when tens of thousands were seeking a way into the United States. I came away feeling very grateful that Dr. Grove chose to come to the United States, and that so many people helped him to get here and prosper. The book¿s title is well developed in the book. Because of operations on his ears at four, Dr. Grove avoided the water as a youngster. He eventually decided to learn to swim, and got good ear plugs to help keep his ears clear of potential infections. In these days, it was very easy to develop polio from swimming, so there was a double danger. Self-taught as a swimmer, he came to enjoy it very much. To his surprise, while in the college preparatory program of the Gymnasium in Hungary, one of his teachers, Mr. Volenski, identified Dr. Grove as the student who was most likely to swim across the big lake of life. The book ends with the observation, ¿I still like swimming.¿ Prior to this book, Dr. Grove¿s most famous work was Only the Paranoid Survive. I can now see how his first twenty years of life in Hungary prepared him to develop and become effective in living that philosophy. Many readers will also be impressed by the book¿s candor. With an active imagination and a lively sense of fun, Dr. Grove usually got into mischief and the book describes many escapades. Many well-known people would not have been willing to share these stories that make him seem very human, but far less than perfect. Ultimately, I was impressed by the importance of persistence. Despite having no reason to expect that her husband was still alive, Dr. Grove¿s mother kept looking for him and prepared their home again after World War II. All the spare time she had was spent asking people if anyone knew where he was, and visiting the train station. After being on the brink of being rejected from the university in Budapest because of Communist social classifications, Dr. Grove¿s father kept looking for connections until he found someone who coul

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2009

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