Men of Kent is, first and foremost, an archetypical sports tale—a story of the improbable happening to the unlikely, unfolding against the backdrop of a turbulent era. Both an homage and a unique inside look at the fast-growing sport of rowing, it embraces the sport's history, traditions, and culture as it tells the story of ten ordinary boys and their coach from Kent, Connecticut, who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances during the spring and summer of 1972.
The Kent School's 1972 crew, of which the author was a part, had a 46-0 winning streak, broke three course records, and claimed a national championship. In its final race, at the fabled Henley Royal Regatta in England—a race broadcast on television worldwide—it barely edged the Canadian National Champions. Kent's achievement merited a banner headline in the New York Times sports section, and is regarded as one of the most breathtaking finishes in Henley's long history.
Rick R. Rinehart is the author of three books, the most recent of which he coauthored with his wife, Dare to Survive: Death, Heartbreak, and Survival in the Wild. In 2006 he was elevated to membership in the Leander Club (Henley-on-Thames, England), the world's oldest, largest, and most successful rowing club.
“Rick Rinehart's recounting of his experiences on his still-renowned American schoolboy crew, culminating at the Henley Royal Regatta in England, is triumphant on every level. It is a touching and candid coming-of-age story, a sports saga that will have you whistling the theme from Chariots of Fire, and a powerful memory trigger that will have you nostalgically flipping through your own photo albums and scrapbooks.”
—Terry Frei, Denver Post, author of Third Down and a War to Go: The All American 1942 Wisconsin Badgers and Playing Piano in a Brothel: A Sports Journalist's Odyssey
“Crew is a sport of power and precision, combined with elegance and grace. Rick Rinehart offers us a fascinating view of the communal world of rowing, from the teamwork inherent in success to the support system that made Kent's story so memorable. He doesn't miss a stroke.”
—Barry Wilner, veteran AP sports writer and co-author of Miracles, Shockers and Longshots: The Greatest Sports Upsets of All Time
“In an age of the second rate, the low rent and the unimpressive; of pornography, video games, text messaging and other irrelevancies of the human spirit, comes a beautiful, graceful book, Men of Kent by Rick Rinehart.... It is a coming of age, patriotic, spiritual story of innocence and joy, of boys who became not just men, but gentlemen, and I loved it.”
—Steven Travers, Red Room blogger and author of One Night, Two Teams: Alabama vs. USC and the Game that Changed a Nation
“Rinehart has a way of telling a sports story that makes even the least interested person fall in love with his tale. His true-life story would inspire anyone to succeed. It shows that with a little hard work, dreams can be achieved.”