“The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics”
By Daniel James Brown
2013 Penguin Group, 416 pages
Review by Maxine Riggers of Moscow:
This amazing, historical story follows the life of Joe Rantz and his teammates who attended the University of Washington in 1933 where they began their struggles and triumphs as members of the university’s rowing crew.
At the age of 15, Rantz was abandoned by his family. The crew members were sons of loggers, farmers and fishermen and were often poor and homeless with no family support. However, the crew’s skills, courage and determination led them to defeat their rival, University of California, in addition to Great Britain and the Ivy League schools, allowing them to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Hitler’s German crew was favored to win and he was in the stands watching the race.
Set in the Pacific Northwest, “The Boys in the Boat” is of particular interest to readers in this area. As a child, Rantz lived in Nezperce from 1919-21 with his brother Fred Rantz, who was the superintendent of schools in Nezperce. “The Boys in the Boat” is one of those books with heart and soul that could bring a few tears.
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