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In this thrilling memoir by the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Tori McClure finds that what she is looking for lies not in a superhuman show of strength, but rather in embracing what it means to be human.


"In the end, I know I rowed across the Atlantic to find my heart, but in the beginning, I wasn't aware that it was missing."


In June 1998, Tori McClure began rowing across the Atlantic Ocean solo in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. Within days she lost all communication with shore but decided to forge ahead -- not knowing that 1998 would turn out to be the worst hurricane season on record in the North Atlantic. When she was nearly killed by a series of violent storms, Tori was forced to signal for help and head home in what felt like disgrace. But then her life changed in unexpected ways. She was hired by Muhammad Ali, who told her she did not want to be known as the woman who "almost" rowed across the Atlantic. And at thirty-five, Tori fell in love.  A Pearl in the Storm is Tori's enthralling story of high adventure—and of her personal quest to discover that embracing her own humanity was more important than superhuman feats.

A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean

  • Tori Murden McClure is the President of Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She is best known as the first woman and first American to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She rowed a twenty-three foot boat alone and without physical support a distance of more than 3,300 miles. Tori was one of two women and six Americans who were the first women and first Americans to travel over land to the geographic South Pole, skiing 750 miles from the ice shelf to the pole. An avid mountaineer, Tori has climbed on several continents and she was the first woman to climb Lewis Nunatuck summit in Antarctica. She is an Emergency Medical Technician in both urban and wilderness areas. She is also a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School  in Alaska and Kenya.  Tori earned her A.B. from Smith College, a Masters in Divinity from Harvard University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Spalding University. She was admitted to the practice of law in 1995 and is a lawyer with the Kentucky Bar Association.  She has worked as Chaplain at Boston City Hospital, the executive director of a shelter for homeless women, as a public policy assistant for the Mayor of Louisville, and she helped create the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville. Tori serves on the Board of Trustees for Smith College and for the National Outdoor Leadership School.

  • This is a hardcover, 305 page book from Harper Books (2010).

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