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The Red Rose Crew : A True Story of Women, Winning, and the Water Hardcover – September 27, 2000
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From Library Journal
Boyne (Essential Sculling), a former women's varsity rowing coach at Tufts University, has written an exhilarating story about the early days of the U.S. women's national rowing team. Noting that society in the 1970s was radically different from today's, the author details some of the obstacles faced by women attempting to enter the male-dominated sport of rowing, especially in the Ivy League. The reader also learns a great deal about the complexity of rowing eights, including the technique and teamwork involved. Boyne's story takes us to the 1975 World Championships, where the U.S. women's team surprised the rowing world with a silver medal, carries forward to the 1976 Olympics, and concludes with a where-are-they-now section. Well written, direct, and effective, this book conveys the rowers' and coaches' skill, tenacity, energy, and enthusiasm for their sport. Recommended for public libraries, especially where rowing is popular.AKathy Ruffle, Coll. of New Caledonia Lib., Prince George, BC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"The Red Rose Crew is a terrific book. It's not just for rowers, it's as universally appealing as The Horse Whisperer." -- John Casey, author of Spartina, 1989 National Book Award Winner
A thrilling account of the U.S. women's crew as it prepared to compete in the 1975 World Championships in rowing... -- Kirkus starred review
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Even into the early 1970s rowing was a male-dominated sport. Women were not welcome: facilities, funding, coaching, etc were not available to them. Some very determined women gradually pried the door open, including one of the crew Gail Pearson, an older, MIT professor.
The author sketches the backgrounds of several of the crew members – virtually all of them young college girls, the steps that were taken to form a US women’s team, the all-important selection of Harvard men’s coach Harry Parker as the women’s coach, and the stressful manner in which the team was selected. It is made quite clear that rowing is an extremely challenging sport: extraordinary fitness is required, as well as an ability to deal with the pain from intense efforts and such problems as blisters. Though partly due to Parker’s taciturn personality, the training was quite austere: an endless cycle of row, eat, sleep with time for few words.
The European teams had years of experience on the Americans with substantial funding, especially the Russians and the East Germans. The upstart Americans placed second in the event barely losing to the East Germans, thus completing one of the more remarkable stories in American sports history.
Written in 2000, the author briefly describes what the women of the boat have been doing since 1975. Many of them remained quite active in rowing circles. What the author could not have known is that Harry Parker continued to coach at Harvard until his death in 2013, having a distinguished career of 50 years, not the least of which was his superb job of coaching the 1975 US women. As good as the book most certainly is, it is a bit abbreviated in places.