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The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation): The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics Hardcover – September 8, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—This adaptation of the adult title The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Viking, 2013) chronicles the powerful University of Washington crew team that took the gold in Berlin. The book centers on one untrained rower, Joe Rantz, who was working his way through college. The team was guided by the determined UW coach, Al Ulbrickson, whose obstacles to success were the rival rowing team from the University of California, Berkeley, and his own inconsistent rowers. Introductions to figures such as George Pocock, the team's boat builder, are fascinating, and the photos of races and the team help to build an understanding of this unique world. The descriptions of the team's trajectory and their tense races are suspenseful, and readers will be fully invested. Rantz is a relatable underdog. However, the accounts of his struggles and triumphs come at the expense of his teammates, who are relegated to the background, existing only as sketchy, underdeveloped figures. Brown's portrayal of the Olympic games is full of thrilling details, but it's also impersonal, with little insight into the boys' thoughts, and Nazi Germany is mentioned only briefly. A "Who's Who" at the front of the book and a time line and introduction to rowing at the back are helpful and well laid out. VERDICT Those seeking an inspiring true story or a great sports tale will be pleased with this stirring work.—Marian McLeod, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT
Accolades for The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation):
- New York Times bestseller
- #1 Pacific Northwest Bookseller Assocation bestseller
"The word teamwork, which can sound humdrum to kids in coaches' droning lectures, doesn't adequately describe the connection shared by the men in that boat in 1936. Illustrated with vintage photos, this moving book offers young people a vivid sense of that shared experience. A Depression-era story with timeless appeal." —Booklist, starred review
"Offering a model of masterful nonfiction writing, Brown expertly balances the leisurely pacing of the protagonists' back stories with the exciting race scenes, related with concrete nouns, lively verbs, and short sentences, selected and adapted for this edition by Mone. Many photographs, an easy-to-read timeline, and notes on "The Art of Rowing," complete with a diagram, add visual appeal. A fine companion to Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken (2014), also about the 1936 Olympics and also adapted for young readers." —Kirkus
"Those seeking an inspiring true story or a great sports tale will be pleased with this stirring work." —School Library Journal
"It becomes almost impossible not to root for such a hardscrabble collection of underdogs as they exhibit hard work, sacrifice, teamwork, and loyalty at every stage of their collective journey to Berlin." —Horn Book
"With a lyrical flair, Brown tells the story of these men in a manner that intersperses the drama of the time period with the emotional and physical turmoil of their lives. Young adult readers may not understand or even know about the desperation of the Depression, or what it was like at the genesis of Nazi Germany, but the tale of these persistent men, each with their own personal struggle, will entice readers of all ages." —VOYA
Accolades for the adult edition of The Boys in the Boat:
- #1 New York Times bestseller
- 2014 ABA Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year
- 2014 Washington State Book Award
"A suspenseful tale of triumph." —USA Today
"Evocative, cinematic prose." —Publishers Weekly
"This is Chariots of Fire with oars." —David Laskin, author of The Children's Blizzard
"A great and inspiring true story." —Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Mayflower
"A thrilling, heart-thumping tale." —Timothy Egan, author of The Worst Hard Time
"A robust, emotional snapshot of an era." —James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers
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Top Customer Reviews
I have not read the original version, but plan to because this was such a compelling and captivating story. I hope they make a movie out of it, too.
Boys in the Boat takes place in the mid-1930s in Washington State. The main character, Joe Rantz wants to be successful in life. To do this, he must overcome many challenges such as poverty, lack of family and most of all, his struggle to do it all on his own. Joe wants to be successful without any help. But Joe realizes how many people helped him on his way to his goal. Ultimately, Joe’s success in rowing is linked to his work on a team.
In order to pay for college at The University of Washington, Joe gets a job at the Grand Coulee Dam construction site. To work on the dam, you need to be strong. “The jackhammer work was brutal, for eight hours a day he dangled on a rope in furnace like heat of the canyon, pounding at the wall of rock in front of him. The jackhammer seemed to have a life of its own, constantly trying to rip itself out of his (Joe’s) grip.” (P.119). This shows how Joe must use his physical strength to succeed at the dam.
Joe faces many challenges on his way to success. His perseverance is seen repeatedly throughout the book. One example of this is when he was living in Sequim as a teenager without a family. “Joe began to fend entirely for himself. He drove iron stakes into the ground to defend the chicken coop […] He foraged in the dripping woods for mushrooms.” (P.52). We see that Joe just keeps pushing himself to be able to survive without anyone around to help him.
When Joe was in Sequim, he had to be a self-made man to survive. “He dug tunnels under tree stumps and pried them out of the earth with iron bars […] He stooped and scraped with a shovel, digging irrigation ditches by hand […] He lugged one hundred twenty pound cans of milk and sweet cream around dairy farms.” (P.54). This shows how many different jobs Joe needed to survive without a family. Another example of Joe being a self-made man is when he is in Sequim trying to make a living. “From now on, he would make his own way. He would find his own route to happiness, as his father had said.” (P.52). Joe is making a big decision to move forward.
Throughout everything, Joe deals with being abandoned at a young age and struggling to survive. Joe’s story gives us an example of how physical strength, perseverance, and being a self-made man leads to great success. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and 2 thumbs up! This book is a great read.
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