In, The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown tells the story of a group of college students from the University of Washington, raised during the depression, who went up against the elite, rich teams from the east coast schools and around the world, and took home the gold medal in Berlin in 1036.
Brown mostly focuses on Joe Rantz, a boy who was abandoned in western WA by his father and step-mother as a teenager, but worked hard and saved money to pay his way through school.
There are many emotional roller-coasters in this story, even knowing the end ahead of time. Brown educated me on all aspects of rowing as a sport and the equipment that they used at the time. So many things came together to have this rowing team defeat the great teams of the Eastern elite schools and the European teams who’s life and training were subsidized by their governments.
I’m not usually interested in non-fiction, but this story gripped me from the beginning. There are so many stories from how the boys earned money during one of the poorest eras in the country’s history, to interactions in Nazi Germany, that it kept my interest from beginning to end.
Great stories, very well told!
Read November 2015.