Herrmann's read feels like he's there with me telling me the story. I can't imagine either "The Boys in the Boat" or "Unbroken" being read by anyone else.
I've never done this before, but as soon as I was done with this book I went back and started listening to it all over again. It's really that good.
I'm a writer of everything from children's picture books to fiction to memoir. I usually listen to nonfiction, mostly history, on Audible simply because I prefer to read novels on the page. The only exception to that rule is short stories and I'm partial to the Selected Shorts Anthologies.
This story of the crew team who won the gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany is moving and engaging. The author brings together the individual stories of the team members while at the same time giving us a clear picture of Berlin in the months leading up to the Olympics. Hitler, Leni Riefenstahl on one side and the heroic dour Dane rowing coach, Al Ulbrickson, and George Pocock, the perfectionist builder of the red cedar boats, on the other. You root for the good guys who learned that depending on each other was the surest way to win. Excellent narration by Edward Herrmann.
Courage, responsibiltiy, and something larger than yourself
I'm from the Seattle area, and it was great to recognize places and events, but it could have taken place anywhere and it was still a great story. The idea of the Greatest Generation and what they had to overcome just to survive - and then you have this group of boys that surpass that with quite courage and will. Loved the interweaving of the story in Seattle with what was going on in Germany.
I always love to listsen to Edward Hermann - and this was one of his best perfomances.
The narrator mispronounces so many local place names--Alki, Skagit, Suzzallo, Ephrata, Chehalis, even Oregon! This Northwest native found it grating, not to mention sloppy for a book so likely to be read by UW alumni and WA natives alike. If you can get past it, it's a good read otherwise.
This was truly a great story. It was not as exciting as Unbroken was just as well written and enjoyable. The narration enhanced the story and put you right into the story and the emotions of the characters. This is a book I would strongly recommend and listen to again.
If you want to know why I loved this book read Jay Parini's review in The Guardian from July of 2013. He explains it better than I ever could.
The Boys in the Boat was very nearly perfectly narrated by Edward Herrman, who for me has become THE voice of great historical nonfiction, bios and memoirs.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
This book entertained us for many hours on out recent vacation to the Pacific Northwest. I couldn't have picked a better book to listen to, as we headed on our way to Washington state from California. How fun to realize that the book we were listening to was centered around one of our destination areas. This was not preplanned but happened purely by serendipity.
The story captured our attention immediately. It was even more relevant to us as our son had rowed on a local California university crew team (not Berkeley). The book was exceptionally well-researched and got up close and personal, as well as telling the team story of an Olympic win which occurred against all odds.
And what a time in world history for it to have occurred! I have read many holocaust books in the recent past, but the part of this book, the description of Germany as Hitler was coming to rise and beginning to execute his pure evil, made me squirm in my seat. I was always glad when these parts were over. This was not a negative for me, just my own personal reaction.
This is a wonderful, uplifting, true story which should appeal to a wide variety of listeners. It was perfectly narrated which added greatly to make it an awesome listening experience.
I felt as if I knew every one of the boys of the boat!
I caught myself yelling at the step mother of Joe Rantz!,and cheering on each of the young men who were becoming self-made men. They competed with the Ivy-league crew and came out ahead which made me understand why that generation is the one we all hold in such high esteem!
My heart ached for Joe Rantz! He was a true hero! A model for all of us - and he just did what had to be done at the time - for self preservation.
It is a long book, so no. I would listen to it again, which is something I rarely do.
This is one book that I go out of my way to recommend.
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
I was not sure that I would like this book when I bought it, but turned out loving it. Although I do not want to give away the ending, the seeds of Hitler's destruction could no better be summarized by the results of the 1936 olympic race. As much as the Nazi's tried to fix the results of the race, the sheer heart of the rowers win out and with it foretell the outcome of WW II. There was no doubt that Germany would lose the race and the war.
I was skeptical of using a credit for a book about rowing.
The only thing I really knew about athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games was the triumph of Jessie Owens. However, since this book was narrated by Edward Herman, one of my all time favorite readers, I decided to give the book a listen.
What unfolds is a very ambitious and largely very successful effort to bring the listener into the world of post depression era life and the world of competitive 8-man rowing.
Daniel Brown builds his story around the amazing life of Joe Rantz, a young boy abandoned by his family who finds his life forever changed by his experiences as a member of a college rowing team.
The passion that Daniel Brown brings to his subject matter is perfectly matched by the flawless Edward Herman narration.
This being said, the book is not without its flaws...the primary one being the author's tendency to allow his narrative to become overly saccharine at times. This is really a criticism of the tone of the book, not the content.
On the very positive side, the listener will find themselves completely drawn into to the characters lives and to the work and skills needed to succeed at competitive rowing.
This is a decidedly American story of ordinary young men who accomplish great things
and change the world and themselves in the process.