Rowing: The Boys in the Boat, The Social Network, Fascism, Grieg, and Me

Screenshot (127)

My first visit to Trump-era US involved visiting various extended family, predominantly of an elderly, Catholic, and conservative persuasion. Upon arrival in Virginia, following an 18-hour door-to-door journey, several newly purchased paperback non-fiction books were thrust upon me as welcoming gifts. Amongst these was Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat, the story of the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew that won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, narrowly beating a German team in the final. Due to certain familial connections with several of the crew (a great uncle was coached by the cox and one of the oarsmen at MIT in the 1940s, and would later embark on a failed business venture with another), it was gently insisted that I read, and finish, this book by the end of the week. Confident in my ability to ‘read’ (i.e. scan) and digest material quickly, and not being one to shirk from a challenge (much like American rowers racing against Nazis), I duly accepted.

Continue reading