The most insipring rowing books for 2024


An effective way of finding inspiration for your own efforts is in the stories of others, especially when it comes to overcoming adversity and achieving greatness. These books are sure to leave you feeling motivated and empowered, whether you're a seasoned rower or simply looking for some inspiration in your own life.

Here's the quick list. You can find longer summaries of all the books lower down this page.

  1. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown - This is a true story of the University of Washington's rowing team and their journey to compete in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.
  2. Assault on Lake Casitas by Brad Alan Lewis - A personal account of the author's journey to compete in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, California.
  3. Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge by Jill Fredston - This book tells the story of a couple who spent 20 years rowing and kayaking in the Arctic.
  4. The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal by David Halberstam - The story of four rowers who trained for the 1984 Olympics.
  5. The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence by Stephen Kiesling - This book tells the author's journey to become a rowing champion.
  6. Mind Over Water by Craig Lambert - A fascinating account of Mundie's journey from a recreational athlete to an Olympic rower, all while dealing with the challenges of visual impairment.

Without further ado, let's dive into these incredible stories of dedication, perseverance, and triumph on the water.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

by Daniel James Brown

This is an inspiring and uplifting true story that follows the journey of the University of Washington's rowing team as they prepare to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The story focuses on Joe Rantz, a young man who faced hardship and adversity throughout his life, and his teammates who came from different backgrounds and faced their own challenges. Together, they work towards their goal of competing in the Olympics and winning gold.

Brown does a wonderful job of bringing the story to life through his vivid descriptions of the rowing races and the emotional moments experienced by the team. He also paints a picture of the political climate at the time, including the rise of Hitler and the Nazi regime, which adds depth and meaning to the story.

Overall, "The Boys in the Boat" is a truly inspiring book that showcases the power of teamwork, dedication, and perseverance in the face of adversity. It's a must-read for anyone who loves sports, history, or simply a great story of triumph over hardship.

Assault on Lake Casitas

by Brad Alan Lewis

This book is a personal account of the author's journey to compete in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Brad Alan Lewis had a dream of becoming an Olympic rower, and had to face & overcome numerous obstacles and setbacks along the way.

Through his perseverance and determination, Lewis eventually found his way onto the US rowing team and competed in the 1984 Olympics. His story is one of passion, hard work, and never giving up on your dreams.

The book is written in a friendly and engaging style, with Lewis providing detailed descriptions of his training and races. He also shares his personal struggles and doubts, making the story relatable and inspiring for readers.

What I love most about "Assault on Lake Casitas" is that it shows the power of perseverance and hard work. Despite facing setbacks and failures, Lewis never gave up on his dream, and he ultimately achieved success through his dedication and determination.

Overall, "Assault on Lake Casitas" is a great read for anyone who loves sports, memoirs, or stories of triumph over adversity. It's a reminder that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge

by Jill Fredston

This memoir of Jill Fredston's experiences rowing along the arctic coast of Alaska and Canada with her husband Doug is a unique blend of adventure and nature writing, as Fredston shares her experiences of rowing in some of the harshest and most remote environments on earth.

What strikes me about this book is the way that Fredston brings the arctic landscape to life. Her descriptions of the ice, the wildlife, and the extreme weather conditions are both vivid and captivating. She also writes about the challenges of rowing in such a harsh environment, including the physical and mental toll it takes on the body.

Throughout the book, Fredston shares personal anecdotes and insights, including her own struggles with fear and doubt. She also explores the relationship between humans and the natural world, and the impact that climate change is having on the arctic environment.

The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal

by David Halberstam

This is the true story of four young men who come together to form an Olympic rowing team in the 1980s. The team consists of individuals from different backgrounds and experiences, who are united by their passion for rowing and their desire to win a gold medal.

What I love about this book is the way that Halberstam brings the characters to life. He provides detailed descriptions of their personalities, their struggles, and their motivations, making the story relatable and inspiring. He also gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the world of competitive rowing, including the training, the races, and the politics of the sport.

Halberstam does a great job of exploring the themes of teamwork, determination, and perseverance. He shows how these four young men come together to overcome their differences and achieve a common goal. He also examines the impact that their journey has on their personal lives and relationships.

The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence

by Stephen Kiesling

The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence

This is a book of essays by Stephen Kiesling, a former champion rower and coach. Kiesling shares personal stories and insights on the sport of rowing, covering topics such as training, technique, strategy, teamwork, and leadership. His writing is engaging, relatable, and inspiring, making this book a great read for anyone interested in rowing or in pursuing excellence in any area of life. Kiesling's reflections on rowing offer a unique perspective on the dedication and commitment required to achieve greatness.

Mind Over Water

by Craig Lambert

Mind Over Water by Craig Lambert

This book is a fascinating exploration of the mental and physical aspects of rowing, as well as a meditation on the beauty and power of the sport.

Lambert is a skilled writer and his love for rowing shines through in every page of this book. He weaves together personal anecdotes, interviews with top rowers, and scientific research to create a compelling narrative that is both informative and engaging.

One of the things that sets "Mind Over Water" apart is its focus on the mental aspects of rowing. Lambert explores the ways in which rowers use their minds to achieve peak performance, from visualization techniques to the power of positive self-talk.

But the book is not just about the mental side of rowing. Lambert also delves into the physical demands of the sport, from the importance of technique to the role of nutrition and hydration.

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