This book is told in third person and mainly is about Joe Rantz. It tells his story of how his father and step-mother abandoned him and left him alone to survive on a farm. He learned to be self-reliant by chopping wood to earn money and fishing rivers for food. He managed to get excellent grades through his teen years and was able to enroll in classes at the University of Washington. There he also tried out and made the crew team. On the team, he saw how many of the wealthier students dropped off the team by Joe was a determined young man. He worked hard along with his teammates, through hours of grueling training in all kinds of weather conditions. They beat the two time Olympic team at the University of California as well as teams in the East. They conquered the world record and won the right to go for gold at the Berlin Olympics. Berlin at the time was the heart of The team went on to win at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.
This book is an inspirational read as it shows how one can overcome obstacles and succeed. It shows perseverance in tough times. I highly enjoyed this book and recommend it immensely.