This nonfiction story of the Olympics-winning nine-man rowing crew is fascinating. When I lived in Boston, I always enjoyed watching the crews rowing their shells in the Charles River. What I didn’t realize was how much mental and physical work was required to make that beautiful synchronized boat skim the water.
This is a story of Joe Rantz, one of the crew of the Husky Clipper in which nine men from Washington State took the gold medal for the United States in the German hosted Olympics of 1936. But it is also the story of the whole crew, their coaches, the boat builder, a local newspaper reporter, plus the story of life in the Northwest U.S. during the great depression, the dust bowl, and the beginnings of the Nazi Regime in Germany.
I’m not usually a fan of nonfiction. I find most of it dry and boring. I’m not a sports fan, either. But a friend recommended the book and loaned it to me. I took me a couple of chapters to get caught up in the story, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. I learned a lot. It is packed with history, and it captures the effort and cooperation required of the crew in order to make the boat “swing.”