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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 December 12, 2017
Wonderful novel based on a true story of local boy made good. It was meaningful to me because I am a native of the area and it brought back many memories. The University of Washington's legendary rowing program provides the backdrop for the story. The book explores many of the challenges faced by early residents of the Pacific Northwest. A very inspiring and personal story that I enjoyed sharing with my adult children. Pierce County, where I live, selected this book and author for their annual "Read" program. Community members read the book. held local discussions, and had an opportunity to meet the author locally.If you like learning about history through a good story, this is the book for you.
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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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on November 24, 2017
Truly an outstanding, inspirational and moving story - and so well written. I read almost exclusively non-fiction. But I had never read this book because I didn't think I would be interested in an athletic story, especially one about rowing (a sport I never follow). If you are having the same thoughts, put them quickly aside. I was fascinated by every aspect of this tale, including details about the sport itself, and learned so much. I couldn't put it down, even though I knew how it ended. I only wish I had picked it up sooner.
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on August 11, 2017
The last couple of chapters had me "cheering"!
A remarkable story...and it was all captured by Hitler's "mistress", Lens Rifensthall I don't know the correct spelling of her name. She had the cameras
on the finish line and there it was "the victory" captured for all to see.
The young men in this book were "Americans" from simple backgrounds and rose to staggering heights through rigorous training and impossible
odds. Makes you proud to be an American.
Hitler's team was "bested"...great!
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on September 23, 2013
I just finished reading Daniel James Brown's *The Boys in the Boat* and, in-between typing letters, I'm wiping the tears away from my face. This book is just wonderful. The pacing - the slow building from a humble beginning to a triumphant finish - is beautifully-matched to the story it tells. This is a book about the magic of the boat, the crew of young men from the University of Washington that oared it, and the champion Olympic team they created together. This is a story of individuals going beyond what they could each do alone, and coming together to form the powerful and invincible American crew team that rowed in front of Hitler at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, and won the gold.

Interwoven with the story of Joe Rantz - one of the "boys in the boat" - is the story of what was happening in Nazi Germany in the 1930's - the rise of Hitler and his NAZI party, the politicking and rivalries, and the targeting of those the Nazis labeled "undesirables." There is heart-wrenching tragedy in these pages. And, beyond the tragedy, there is incredible inspiration.

My dad is of the same generation as the "boys in the boat" - born in 1918 (four years after Joe Rantz), and a pole vaulter for the University of Washington after the war. He's still active at 95. As I was reading Joe's story, I couldn't help but wonder if Dad and Joe ever crossed paths at the UW, or as they tromped around in the mountains of Washington State.

Talking about the generation that produced the "boys in the boat" and those who fought in World War II, Brown writes: "They are almost all gone now - the legions of young men who saved the world in the years just before I was born. But that afternoon, standing on the balcony of Haus West, I was swept with gratitude for their goodness and their grace, their humility and their honor, their simple civility and all the things they taught us before they flitted across the evening water and finally vanished into the night."

Karen Molenaar Terrell
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on December 6, 2017
Awesome read! The author did a ton of research adding the world events of that time to parallel the story being told. It was also interesting to learn of the true financial hardships that many families endured. I was impressed because it was a true story, the main character had grits and gut and won against the odds. Every college student should read this and stop complaining, this guy worked very hard to obtain his education, something that most young people take for granted these days.
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on March 24, 2017
I seldom read non fiction, opting in most cases for thrillers and mysteries. On impulse, I decided to give this book a chance, without great expectations. A great decision!! Even knowing the outcome did not diminish the excitement of the quest, and weaving the story of Hitler's rise to power during the 1936 Olympics captured the irony of his policies. The "boys" were unbreakable and truly inspirational through some very difficult times, not the least of which was surviving the Great Depression. The story of Joe Rantz should be required reading at some time during the education process...
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