Swimming Across

Swimming Across

by Andrew S. Grove

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Elegant and concise, this childhood memoir of Andy Grove, one of the pioneers of Silicon Valley, begins in Budapest, Hungary where the author was born into a secular Jewish family in 1936. As a small child, Andris Grof was told, "Jesus Christ was killed by the Jews, and because of that, all of the Jews will be thrown into the Danube." Grof's school years were marked by such anti-semitism and interrupted first by the Nazi occupation and then by the post-war Communist regime. He was a good student who excelled at chemistry which he was studying at the University of Budapest when the Hungarian uprising of 1956 persuaded him to "swim across" the border and emigrate to the West.

Grove provides an interesting sketch of a boy's coming of age in a deeply dangerous 20th century Budapest under the control of Nazis and then Communists and concludes the memoir with an account of his escape and eventual resumption of his studies at the City College of New York.

"Haunting and inspirational. It should be required reading in schools." -- Tom Brokaw

"A poignant memoir... a moving reminder of the meaning of America and the grit and courage of a remarkable young man who became one of America's phenomenal success stories." -- Henry Kissinger

"This honest and riveting account gives a fascinating insight into the man who wrote Only the Paranoid Survive." -- George Soros

"Andy Grove is a tremendous role model, and his book sheds light on his amazing journey. I would choose him as my doubles partner any day!" -- Monica Seles

"Combines a unique and often harrowing personal experience with the virtues of fiction at its most engrossing -- vivid scenes, sharply delineated characters, and an utterly compelling narrative... a wonderful reading experience." -- Richard North Patterson

"A poignant tale leading to human courage and hope." -- Elie Wiesel

"Grove, the founder and chairman of Intel Corporation, does not whine about his hardships. Instead he recalls ordinary events and matter-of-factly juxtaposes these against the turmoil of midcentury Hungary, creating a subtle though compelling commentary on the power to endure." -- Diane Scharper, The New York Times

"Swimming Across tells the childhood stories [Grove] has guarded since first entering the public eye four decades ago... [It] is driven not by executives battling for money and power, but the experiences -- some mundane, some extraordinary -- of a nonobservant Jewish boy growing up in Hungary through a fascist regime, a Nazi invasion and a Soviet occupation." -- Chris Gaither, The New York Times

" The intelligence, dedication and ingenuity that earned him fame and fortune (he was Time's Man of the Year in 1997) are evident early on... Grove's story stands smartly amid inspirational literature by self-made Americans" -- Publishers Weekly

"A tight, simply told, extremely intimate memoir... a polished, solid portrait of a particular time and place." -- Kirkus

"[A] moving and inspiring memoir... Grove's account of life in Hungary in the 1950s is a vivid picture of a tumultuous period in world history." -- Booklist

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159157003
Publisher: Plunkett Lake Press
Publication date: 04/20/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 553,545
File size: 9 MB

About the Author

Andrew S. “Andy” Grove (1936-2016) was a Hungarian-born American businessman, engineer, and pioneer in the semiconductor industry. Born András István Gróf into a Jewish family in Budapest, he survived the Holocaust as a child, escaped in 1956 from Communist-controlled Hungary at the age of 20 and moved to the United States where he finished his education, earning a bachelor’s degree from City College in New York in 1960, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1963, both in chemical engineering.

He was one of the three founders of Intel in 1968 and its CEO from 1987 until 1998: during that time, Intel grew from 19,200 to 64,500 employees and from $4 billion to $197 billion in market capitalization.

In 1997, Grove was named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” for his key role in the growth in power of microchips and their innovative potential. After he was diagnosed in 2000 with Parkinson’s disease, he became a contributor to several foundations sponsoring research towards a cure.

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Swimming Across (Large Print Edition) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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