In the late 1990s John Pollack was working as a Washington speechwriter when, frustrated by the cynicism and hypocrisy on Capitol Hill, he quit his job to pursue a boyhood dream: to build a boat made entirely of wine corks and take it on an epic journey.

Cork Boat tells the story of Pollack's improbable quest. Overcoming one obstacle after another, he convinces skeptical bartenders to save their corks, corrals a brilliant but headstrong partner, and eventually cajoles more than 100 volunteers to help build the boat - many until their fingers bleed. Ultimately, Pollack completes his vessel of 165,321 corks and sets sail on a fantastic voyage down the Douro River in Portugal, where the Cork Boat becomes a national sensation.

Equal parts memoir, adventure story and travelogue, Cork Boat ferries the reader on an unlikely, inspiring journey from the corridors of power to the windswept gorges of northern Portugal, all aboard an absurd yet beautiful vessel. Written with unusual grace and disarming humor, Cork Boat is a buoyant tale of whimsy, adventure, and the power of imagination.

To view footage of the Cork Boat in Portugal, click here. The movie requires Quicktime.


"Top 10 Travel Books of 2004"


Finalist, 2004 Original Voices Prize