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“n the early 1930's, nine young University of Washington students are part of the rowing crew striving to achieve the final pick to become the team to represent the USA at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin as Hitler brazenly builds his Third Reich. Fiercely determined by the hard times of the Great Depression, this is an emotional story of the crew and those who put their trust in them as they put their hearts into 'sculpting”
— Carol Hicks, Bookshelf At Hooligan Rocks, Truckee, CA
Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.
The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious.