A lot of important things went by the wayside the day I read this book.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown, is a gripping account that reads like suspense fiction. Maybe it is because I have two teenaged boys at home, or because it is such a frequent plea from parents to suggest books for their boys, I have to recommend this true-life story. Of the ten dozen books I read in 2016, this is in the top five. Really, you’ve got to read this book!
If you want heroes and hope for your sons, here’s a gem. Picture young men deprived in childhood of common comforts due to the ravages of the Depression, sacrificing to attend college, and then battling brutal conditions to succeed as a rowing team. It is how the team becomes a team, learns to respect and trust one another’s diverse skills, that encouraged my heart in this oh-so-individually minded era. They were training for the race of their college career, but also for the race of life.
It is at the end of one of the team member’s lives that the author had the privilege of hearing the experience of this Washington State crew’s account firsthand. He skillfully weaves the memories and facts against the backdrop of the Depression and the ominous agenda of the Nazi regime.
You, and your young people, will be turning the pages faster than those 40-stroke per minute paddlers in the boat, and you will find yourself pulling for them with all your might even though you know the outcome. What inspiration for life as believers, who find ourselves pulling with all our might to make it to the finish, not on our own, but in the company of fellow rowers under an excellent coach — against the current, against the odds, all for One, and One for all.