If you enjoyed Seabiscuit, Unbroken or Chariots of Fire, The Boys in the Boat is another first-place title to add to your reading list. Boys tells about a scrappy crew team at the University of Washington, who, against all obstacles, rows their way to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. We get introduced to Joe Rantz, who was a primary source for the book, George Pocock, a boat builder whose name is still revered today in the the rowing world, Huskies crew coach Al Ulbrickson, and coxswain Bobby Moch. But Boys in the
Boat is more than a rowing story.
It tells of perseverance and America’s “can-do” attitude. The book reveals the popularity of crew in the 1930s, the darkness of the Berlin Olympic Games and reflects the Great Depression’s deep impact on a country fraught with unemployment, hunger, homelessness. The Grapes of Wrath comes to mind. With all this historical information, the book is still a page turner. No knowledge of rowing is required to understand how physically and mentally brutal these boys in their boat worked to achieve their goal. Fingers crossed that the movie, directed by Kenneth Branagh, will also be worthy of gold.