Mark de Rond's book is a fascinating look into the often mis-understood world of Cambridge rowing. Written in a diary format from when the crew hopefuls assemble in September through the various selection tests to the formation of the crews and the actual boat race in April. His book contains many insights into rowing training in general but also the unique set-up of the Cambridge University Boat Club. He looks at the personalities, the intra-crew tensions, the traditions and the tough selection decisions.
The only criticism I have is that De Rond, especially in the early chapters, seemed intent in making himself part of the story. With a preface that pointlessly agonizes about his role as anthropologist and whether or not he can be objective and later chapters that talk about his own experience of rowing the head of the charles I would have preferred if he'd told the story more from the perspective of pure observer.
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