Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Good Read / The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

I don’t often recommend books I’ve read; but I have recently finished a very good one:  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  This is a book that almost anyone will enjoy reading – even bring a tear or two to your eyes – at least it did to mine – very inspirational.  It will make a great movie.

This is a book about the ‘boys’ who made up the University of Washington’s ‘eight – oar crew’ that won the 1936 Olympic Gold in rowing; held in Germany (Nazi Germany).

The ‘boat’ has eight rowers and a coxswain for a crew total of nine.  The book, researched in detail, delves into all their lives, but principally chronicles the life of Joe Rantz and his hardscrabble, early life – literally abandoned and orphaned at the age of fifteen.

The gold medal in the 1936 Olympic, 2000 meter race, was won by these American college boys, who found their ‘swing’ and pulled together a come-from-behind upset victory.  Germany’s hand-selected team finished third behind the Italian Team.

“On the balcony of Haus West, Hitler turned and strode back into the building, unspeaking.  Goebbels and Goring and the rest of the Nazi officials scurried in behind him.”

The ‘boys’ winning, record time was 6 minutes 26.4 seconds.  This record was an incredibly fast time for the period.

Incidentally, and it should not detract in any way from the 1936 victory (training regimens and equipment have greatly improved over the years); but Canada now holds the record at 5 minutes 19.35 seconds, set in 2012.

True Nelson

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