The triumphant moment at the 1936 Berlin Olympics when the eight rowers and one coxswain in the Husky Clipper won gold for the U.S. in the eight-oared crew race has gone down in Olympic record books. To some--including Adolf Hitler, who watched that race--the University of Washington crew had scored an upset. To Al Ulbrickson, the Washington rowing coach nicknamed "The Dour Dane," the victory was not entirely a surprise. In April 1933, with a new crop of crew candidates (who had never rowed a boat), Ulbrickson found the qualities needed: raw power, stamina, willpower, the intelligence to master rowing technique and the ability to drop all traces of ego once seated in the boat.
With nail-biting suspense, Brown establishes the rare, thrilling you are there quality that epitomizes the best in sportswriting, and captures the personalities, psychologies and stories of all the players, from the behind-the-scenes boat builder and rowing guru George Pocock to the brilliant and self-assured coxswain Bobby Moch and the heart of the story, rower Joe Rantz. According to Al Ulbrickson, this UW Husky crew was "the finest I ever saw seated in a shell. And I've seen some corking boatloads." --John McFarland, author