This book about Joe Rantz and his rowing crew mates might be my favorite kind of book. Non-fiction; centered on someone interesting but not too well-known; told at a relaxed pace with lots of detail (but not to the point that I get bored); and told skillfully as a fascinating, heart-warming story. Basically, it’s a wonderfully written inspirational sports story. I loved it.

The author’s interleaving of tidbits about the rise of Nazi Germany adds somber context to the story and makes the rough-and-tumble Washington boys’ Olympic victory in Berlin even more exciting. I also enjoyed the George Pocock quotes at the beginning of each chapter; they made rowing sound so incredible, practically holy, that I almost wanted to take up the sport myself. All in all, it was a great read.