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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have never rowed. I have never read a rowing book that I can remember. If all stories about rowing were written like Daniel Brown's fabulous multi-level biography, I would read every one of them. This is a wonderful account, told with such detail and precision that I sometimes felt as if I were in this tale. Mr. Brown totally sucked me into his adventure. These young men who rowed for the USA in the 1936 Olympics faced huge obstacles. It was the Depression. Many were dirt-poor. They came from a small (then) and nondescript town of Seattle. They could not have had more difficult problems thrown their way. But by taking every sliver of hope, and mixing in superb craftsmanship (from George Pocock), excellent coaching (Al Ulbrickson), and these nine perfectly attuned young men learning together........the result was perfection. This is a true Team sport. I learned that. It is nice to learn something you never knew, but is common knowledge to an entire set of other people. If you want to read a great, true story of success, this will fit the bill in spades.....and you will understand rowing to boot.

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. The speed of a racing shell is determined primarily by two factors: the power produced by the combined strokes of the oars, and the stroke rate, the number of strokes the crew takes each minute. 3) To defeat an adversary who was your equal, maybe even your superior, it wasn't necessarily enough just to give your all from start to finish. You had to master your opponent mentally. When the critical moment in a close race was upon you, you had to know something he did not- that down in your core you still had something in reserve, something you had not yet shown. 4) The things that held them together--trust in one another, mutual respect, humility, fair play, watching out for one another--those were also part of what America meant to all of them. There are other great ideas to ponder in this epic almost 400 page, could-not-put-down story.

I am not giving away anything by telling you that they DO win Gold at the 1936 Olympics. It is HOW they did it that is so darn exciting. Even knowing the end result does not diminish this bigger than life adventure. This is a must read, period.
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on November 20, 2016
I think this has to be one of the most fantastic, heart wrenching, and inspiring book I have ever read. I know this family but as a child growing up, no one knew Joe's story because no one ever talked about things like this. People just did what they did and went on with their lives - no fussing, whining, excuse making or patting themselves on the back: You did what you had to do, were grateful for the good things in life, taught your children about hard work, love and respect - the rest took care of itself. Congratulations to Daniel James Brown for seeing the value in this story and in the man who walked it. And congratulations to Daughter Judy for making it possible for it to all come together. Fantastic story; fantastic presentation.
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VINE VOICEon May 6, 2015
This is one of my favorite genre history told as a fiction.This story reminds me "Unbroken" as you read it you forget this is a real person and this really happened. I love this novel in so many levels. It's well written and I really love how he immersed himself in the story, meeting the main character and the authors note is sincere and heart warming. You know he cared about the characters and the books shows that.
As for the story, is about the true tale of nine men from University of Washington beat everybody and especially Hitlers Germany in 1936. You learn how Germany held the Olympics as a movie set hiding all the ugliness and showing the propaganda of Germany being a friendly and civilized country. I personally found fascinating, Leni Riefenstahl, the Actress, movie director who was ahead of her time doing movies with all the cameras and making these incredible movies to promote the Nazi. The movies as told were brilliant. Too bad , she was doing for the devil.
I had several takeaways, first you think you got it bad now, read or talk to people who went through the depression and you will get a perspective. My dad told me stories as I am older I understand a little better how bad it was during that time. My other takeaway is that to achieve you have to let go with Joe Rantz had to let go of his distrust of people after being hurt and that in a group like the Washington Rowing team , you do it for the team, you don't want to let your team go- your ego doesn't exit.
This story about a bunch of farmers, loggers and country bumpkins became the best in the world by winning the gold metal -is a testament to hard work, luck and sometimes in life the planets and starts aligned just right to make miracles.
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on May 28, 2016
So liked this book. Living in Seattle makes it all the more compelling. These guys worked so hard for what they earned. The history behind this is amazing and everyone living in Seattle should read it. The story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their quest for Olympic gold. They were the sons of farmers and loggers and defeated the crews from eastern and British schools before qualifying to represent the U.S. in the Olympic games in Berlin. The story isn't just about the crew but also the coach and the British boat builder who hand built the boats the boys raced. Written from the boys diaries and journals. The personalities of the boys, coaches, competitors is defined so well in the book. You feel like you know these guys personally when you come to the end.
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VINE VOICEon February 12, 2017
I can't add much that 20,000 other reviewers haven't added. Suffice it to say this is an excellent book.

The author is a masterful storyteller. The picture of the rowers in the Great Depression, and their backgrounds (particularly Joe Rantz, who epitomizes the spirit of rugged individualism in toto), is fascinating. Also interesting is the strategy and teamwork involved in competitive rowing. The entire book is fascinating, but perhaps nothing surpasses the German side of the tail; Nazi officialdom bent on making the 1936 Olympics showcase their new model man and nation. Our American boys throw a monkey-wrench in Hitler's showcase (as does Jesse Owens). The US crew's experience in the Fatherland is priceless storytelling.
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on May 16, 2015
I'm not someone who follows sports and that's why I wanted to write a review of The Boys in the Boat. It's a story of endurance, hope, trust and perseverance which even non-sports fans will appreciate. I was totally mesmerized by the backstory leading up to the American gold in crew at the 1936 Olympics in Germany. I loved reading about Joe Rantz and the other team members and their dedication to each other. I also found the information about Hitler's pre-war maneuvers to dupe the world into believing that his intentions were honorable interesting and so sad. If only... And amazingly, what I learned about rowing makes me want to see it in action! If you read and loved Unbroken you should absolutely read The Boys in The Boat. Both are true stores that read like well-written novels with characters you sympathize with and root for. I hope a movie is made about Joe and the boys!
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on April 1, 2017
Best book ever! I learned about rowing (which I never thought I would be interested in) and the lives of young men who were strong, tough, disciplined and who overcame adversities most of us softies can only read about with open mouths and hearts. The print in the book was pretty small for old eyes but book was so engrossing, I just plowed on.
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on November 1, 2015
Read this book! You will not be sorry. First, thank you book group for choosing a book I would never pick on my own! I am not that interested in sports, I don't really enjoy stories or movies about sports and athletes, and all I know about crew is that it looks lovely and graceful. Yet I give this book a glowing five stars. High praise indeed for a book I dreaded reading.
This is the story of the young men who rowed for University of Washington and went on to Olympic greatness. You learn about rowing and boats but also about what it takes to be a champion, on and off the water. The athlete's story runs parallel to the story of the rise of Hitler and his efforts to fool the world into thinking that Germany is a safe and non-threatening place. The writing is interesting and fast paced. Mr. Brown does an excellent job of evoking emotions. I was on the edge of my seat reading the details of the Olympic race, despite knowing the outcome!
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on May 30, 2017
Being a constant reader of books I,feel somewhat qualified to recommend something of value. Therefore I choose to list this wonderful story as one of my all time favorites. I often wondered how a book about rowing could be on the "best seller list" and I ignored reading it for a long time. I'm not sure what finally tempted me to include it in my Amazon selection but I am very excited about it now. Please give it a try as it is about people who hardly seem to exist anymore. Real people, and real lives with honest values and determination to reach for the stars.
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on March 25, 2015
Outstanding! This book was recommended by a friend from Tacoma and having lived there briefly, I enjoyed the author's masterful description of the area. Joe's story and that of the other rowers is a testament to the power of will and determination in overcoming some of life's greatest hurdles. (I wanted to send his father and stepmother into the Pacific without life-jackets!). I also loved the insights into rowing, the building of the shells, and the psychology of the rowers and the sport. My daughter rowed in high school and college so I thought I knew something about the sport but this book provided insights that were new to me. Lastly, the Olympics themselves! The author takes the reader into the pre-war minds of Hitler and his cronies and the description of the preparation for the games and the race itself is amazing. This is one of those books I hated to see end. A true work of exquisite craftsmanship.
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