Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, The

Daniel James Brown
For readers of Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit and Unbroken, the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936. The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled  by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism. Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam's The Amateurs.


Reviewed: 2018-10-10
I didn’t know the first thing about competitive rowing. I never have rowed and probably never will. But that didn’t stop me from loving this book. I heard Alistair Begg mention the book in a sermon and I spotted it at a library sale for $1 – so I took a chance and am glad I did. In fact, my heart was racing with the thrill of the race when reading about Joe Rantz and the University of Washington crew as they overcame seemingly insurmountable odds. I teared up reading of their physical, personal, and emotional trials. As I was reading one section on my lunch break, I sat the book down because I anticipated what was about to happen and couldn’t bear to read on if what I thought was about to happen did. A few minutes later I picked it back up, and sure enough, another tragedy.

This was a really well told story. Daniel James Brown gratifyingly weaves the story of these men and their struggles with the struggle that the United States faced in the great depression, and with the struggle the world was about to face with Nazi Germany. He also did great job describing the ins and outs of the sport of rowing for the novice, like me, who comes to the book having only rowed a joh boat and canoe looking for bluegill. The art and skill of the master craftsmen, George Pocock as he meticulously crafted the best racing shells in the world was fascinating to me.

This was good book and a wonderful story about an amazing time in history.
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@powerawbs completed #boysintheboatnin... on 2019-04-10