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story of the rivalries between east
coast and west coast universities and
Washington versus California. The
book tells the story of the building of
the Grand Coulee Dam. The book tells
the story of the rise of Nazism, the
Olympic preparations, and the work
of Leni Riefenstahl, the propagandist
film maker, known for her epic The
Triumph of the Will. The book tells
the story of the UW crew coaches and
their quirky personalities.
The book tells a lot of stories.
Which I didn’t mind so much. I
learned ro wing was a big, big deal back
in the earlier part of the last century,
attracting huge crowds of spectators.
Joe Rantz and his wife were portrayed
as such upstanding citizens; I would
have liked to have known them in real
life. I admired George Pocock for his
talent, craftsmanship, and knowledge
of Northwest woods. I learned who
was able to go to college back then
and who wasn’t. I learned that transporting a finely crafted 60-foot long
shell was not an easy thing. How this
boat made it across the country on
a train and over to Europe on a ship
without breaking in half is remarkable. I learned rowing terms that I
have started to incorporate into my
What I did mind was the retelling
of too numerous races. I was befuddled trying to distinguish one from
another. I am also not a fan of books
that are written like movie scripts. I
could hear the theme from Chariots
of Fire playing in the background
with each race. (But if I were to write
a book, this is the way to go. Movie
rights!) The author does a good job of
drawing on the boys’ diaries, journals,
photos, and interviews with family
members, but I couldn’t help pondering how generously artistic license
was applied in telling the tale.
I did enjoy the book and delighted
in rooting for the UW team. I was so
fascinated with this sport that I knew
little of, that I had to see the now-near-
ly 90-year-old gold-medal-winning
boat for myself. The Husky Clipper is
well-preserved and hangs from the
ceiling of UW’s Conibear Shellhouse.
And it is impressive! And really long!
How did they get it on that train? I
loved poking around the memorabilia
in the building and seeing how the
modern fiberglass shells downstairs
still bear the Pocock name.
All in all, I would recommend this
book. I learned a lot.
Todd Timmcke is the graphic
designer and managing editor of
NWLawyer and can be reached
Literary Lawyer provides a venue for WSBA members and others to
discuss law-related books and books
not-so-law-related. Your book reviews
are welcome. Email nwlawyer@wsba.
org with your review or to request a
guide on how to write one. This column is edited by WSBA Communications Specialist/Writer/Editor
Stephanie Perry who can be reached
at stephaniep@ wsba.org. NWL