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Buck Dawson Authors Award

2010 Tim Dahlberg / Mary Ederle Ward / Brenda Greene

AMERICA'S GIRL - The Incredible Story of How Swimmer

Gertrude Ederle Changed the Nation

In 1926 when women were confined to housekeeping, cooking, and homemaking, Gertrude Ederle did the unthinkable – she swam across the English Channel from France to England touching the pebble beach in darkness after 14 hours 39 minutes in icy water. Only four men had completed the swim since Mathew Webbs' crossing in 1875 and Trudy's time was one hour 45 minutes faster than any of them. Her English Channel feat so thrilled America and the world that two million people welcomed her home to New York City with a ticker-tape parade.


America's Girl is an intimate look at the life and trials of this remarkable woman. This fascinating portrait follows Ederle from her early days as a competitive swimmer through her gold-medal triumph at the 1924 Olympics and on to her first attempt the next year to swim from France to England in frigid and turbulent water.


This is also a stirring look at the go-go era of the 1920's, when the country was about to recognize that women not only could vote but could compete in athletics on an international scale. At the height of Prohibition, Ederle's triumph over the formidable Channel was a victory for women everywhere.


America's Girl immerses readers in a pivotal period of American history and brings to life the spirit of that time.


"Gertrude Ederle was America's girl, and her saga, as told so comprehensively and thoughtfully by Tim Dahlberg, is the story of all-America then-growing up in the great, swelling joy of the Roaring Twenties, then living through the horrible, despairing letdown of the Depression. It's the particular tale of a swimmer and a pioneer female athlete, but its bittersweet resonances touch a whole era and its people."

– Frank Deford, legendary writer for Sports Illustrated, author, and sports commentator

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