My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of the most amazing things about this book was that in spite of knowing the ending, it was suspenseful through and through. The second amazing thing is that it explained rowing to someone who had no clue (me) and little interest in sports in such a way that it was clear but not too much.
The story of the road to the Olympics is told mostly from the perspective of Joe Rantz; however, as he requested, it is told in the context of “the boat”–more than the shell that they propelled with oars, “the boat” is the spirit of the team working together in perfect harmony. The physical boat too is a character, and Pocock, its maker, stands out as one filled with wisdom about people as well as rowing and boat building.
The story is told in the context of the Depression, the Dust Bowl, and the drums of encroaching World War II. Joe’s surmounting of personal struggles as well as economic is admirable.