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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Hardcover – June 4, 2013
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The Amazon Book Review
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Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat is the kind of nonfiction book that reads like a novel. Centered around the life of Joe Rantz—a farmboy from the Pacific Northwest who was literally abandoned as a child—and set during the Great Depression, The Boys in the Boat is a character-driven story with a natural crescendo that will have you racing to the finish. In 1936, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team raced its way to the Berlin Olympics for an opportunity to challenge the greatest in the world. How this team, largely composed of rowers from “foggy coastal villages, damp dairy farms, and smoky lumber towns all over the state,” managed to work together and sacrifice toward their goal of defeating Hitler’s feared racers is half the story. The other half is equally fascinating, as Brown seamlessly weaves in the story of crew itself. This is fast-paced and emotional nonfiction about determination, bonds built by teamwork, and what it takes to achieve glory. —Chris Schluep
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Top Customer Reviews
The research is mostly based on primary resources, including interviews with some members who were still living as the book was pulled together. Family members did supply additional information to make this undertaking feel solid and well thought out.
Concepts from Daniel Brown to consider that are mixed into the story to teach all of us: 1) One of the fundamental challenges in rowing is that when any one member of a crew goes into a slump the entire crew goes with him. 2) There are certain laws of physics by which all crew coaches live and die.Read more ›
Many of the old luminaries of American rowing are in this story, the good, the bad, and the legendary, including Hiram Conibear, Tom Bolles, Al Ulbrickson and George Pocock. The story of the Pocock racing shell, which was still the best racing boat in the US when I started rowing, is detailed, along with the life story of George Pocock, his personality, and his contributions to Washington crews.
At times the author gets a bit over enthusiastic, and comes close to melodrama. Some of the rowing details were overwrought, particularly during the races. He describes the crews as "furiously hacking at the choppy water..." That doesn't describe the sport of rowing, except for raw beginners. Nevertheless, I only have minor complaints: it is a well written story.
This is a recommended read for anyone who has suffered through a season of rowing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent interweaving of personal triumph along with the more widely known triumph of the 1936 Olympics.Published 42 minutes ago by S. Comer
A real story of sacrifice and achievement, and over-coming near impossible odds. The heart and love expressed in this set an example that all should experience. Read morePublished 11 hours ago by Dale Hinman
Made my heart stir. The "swing" of the boat became a metaphor for grace in life. The odyssey of the crew brought tears. One of the most enjoyable books ever.Published 17 hours ago by Debby Jo Blank
Fantastic look at a time in our history that required Americans to dig deep while trying to survive from day to day.
Inspirational on so many levels. Read more
This book at first didn't interest me...why do I care about rowing. It is so much more though. It tells a story of young men becoming great. Read morePublished 1 day ago by marcy
This true story is awe-inspiring. What the boys/men achieved, most from humble backgrounds,is amazing. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Cool Blvd
An excellent, well written book. I enjoyed it, especially the historic description of Germany in the 1930s.Published 1 day ago by ThomasK