The Boys in the Boat tells the true story of the American 8-man rowing team who competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. So much of this book was a surprise to me. I had never really grasped the nature of what life was like in America in those uncertain years leading up to the second World War. I had never really understood or appreciated rowing crew shell racing. And I have never read a book that so expertly grabbed my attention and had me on the edge of my seat, even though I already knew who was going to win the race.