How would I describe the book to a friend?

The main purpose of the book is to tell the life story of Joe Rantz and his life as a poor working class American in the 1930s. Joe went on to win an Olympic Gold medal in rowing and the book explores the history of rowing giving a flavour of the popularity of the sport in during that period. The book also describes the sport of rowing, the coaches, the athletes, the boats, boat builders and the training.

What are the main ideas?

  • The Class divide in 1930s America and the difference between East and West
  • Dust bowl America and the depression
  • World politics and Nazi Germany immediately prior to World War II
  • The growth in popularity of rowing

Things I liked

I enjoyed reading about life in dustbowl America during the 1930s depression. This was an eye opener for me about what life was like and what started the depression. I also enjoyed reading about Nazi Germany and the politics of the Berlin Olympics and getting an understanding of the political situation immediately prior to World War 2.  I’m interested in sport so it’s always fun to read about another sport. It was really interesting to read about the history of rowing and how huge it was as a spectator sport in the 1930s

If I implemented one idea from this book right now, which one would it be?

  • I am actually in inspired to have a go at rowing.
  • The book also reinforces the importance of strength as well as cardio vascular fitness in rowing and there are many connections to swimming and cycling.
  • I noticed the connections between rowing and stroke rate and stroke length to swimming with stroke tempo and stroke length.
  • I was interested in the idea of a flow state when the team worked together as one, each trusting and committing to the team.