First let me say before reading this book I knew nothing and I mean absolutely nothing about the sport of Crewing. Second while I had some knowledge of the Great Depression I did not realize that it was accompanied by dust storms that literally made the sky gray from coast to coast. Nor did I know about the bad weather conditions during the 1930’s making life even more miserable.
So I picked up the book The Boys in the Boat tentatively after all it is a non fiction book and I am very selective when it comes to reading non fiction. I am so glad because it is in my top ten best reads of this year.
The book, in case you are unaware of the subject matter, follows the University of Washington crew team on its journey to the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin. I worked and went to college but jobs were somewhat plentiful during my years, at least if you wanted to work in retail and food service. But to read about how hard these men worked to scrap together enough for tuition and board is incredible. This determination to get through adversity was the same stuff they needed to row and win.
Since the Olympics were to take place in Berlin, the author does a good job talking about what was happening in Germany and who were some of the main players. The reader gets enough from the text to know that Hitler deceived everybody. For the Olympics he literally scoped people off the street and placed them in camps and white washed everything so it looked all clean and bright. He put on a dog and pony show and the world fell for it.
If you have not read this book yet than I hope you put it on your must read list. If you have a reader on your holiday list this is a great book for them.