A friend of mine who's in finance told me that the book is a cult favorite in his office, as most of them did crew in college.
There's gotta be a word for the narrative neatness that this book employs. Of course the UW folks are the young upstarts — of course they are portrayed as the ones without money; the West Coasters; the hotheads and troubled but promising youths. Massive success, then failure, then more uproarious success. (I'm reminded of the article that I can't find about hearing a story about two geologists who take over a vineyard that centuries of Bordeaux veterans cannot salvage, and how most people expect them to fail [because that satisfies the narrative constraint of 'old knowledge'] and instead they succeed.)
If nothing else, the book succeeds at teaching me about rowing, which I now love and find very interesting! I am going to shoehorn "mind in boat" into a lot of things from now on.
I love the glimpses into Old Seattle; particularly the idea of Capitol Hill, my current neighborhood, as being this remote and stately locale flush with moneyed Victorian manses.
I admire the book not being too histrionic with the Americans' first experiences with Germany. I would honestly love to learn more about the relationship between the AOC and the Third Reich in general; the book doesn't bring a lot of context or focus to the confluence of country, sport, and politic, which I get but I feel like that'd be more useful and interesting than the constant glimpses of Goebbels in the shadows.
Grandness and spirit of adventure: this wasn't just these folks first times in Europe, but their first time away from home at all (plus on a cruise liner, etc.)
Also a hilarious demarcation of how far nutrition and sports science has come in a hundred years: the progression of "hmmm just eat steak and bananas" to hyper regulated diets is fun.