I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
Boys in the Boat (BITB) is a powerful and entertaining book that allows the reader/listener to forget their reading non-fiction. The story brings together a confluence of historical events that make for an intriguing story: the Great Depression, the sport of crewing at its height of popularity, Berlin's 1936 Olympics, and the impending start of WWII. Author, Daniel James Brown, writes with a certain sense of ease and realism that conjures up the spirit of the times.
As a reader, I gained a much greater understanding and respect the sport of crewing upon reading BITB. Brown does an outstanding of reviewing the history of crewing, the athletic efforts needed to be a part of a crew team, comradely needed to be a successful crew team, and the strategy needed to win races. Equally gripping was the explanations about how families survived day to day during the Great Depression. Brown also tells the personal stories of the University Washington crew members, which allows the reader a very personal interaction the subject matter. All of these elements are seamlessly woven together to identify the country's emerging character that would dominate the post WWII area and be termed by Tom Brokaw as the "greatest generation".
Brown's best work is spent detailing the propaganda efforts on the behalf of Hitler, Leni Riefenstahl, and German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who attempted to use the spectacle of the 1936 Olympics to support their fantasies of racial superiority. Brown's research and spot-on storytelling brings the story to an exciting climax.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading/listening to BITB for the characters, story, and historical significance. Reportedly, the movie rights have been sold to Miramax, which Kenneth Branagh is scheduled to direct. In my rank order system of the 64 books I have over the last two year, BITB lands in the 12th position.
I would not recommend the audio version of this book. This is a wonderful story. Edward Hermann is a very good reader, but he didn't bother to learn the correct pronunciation of almost every Washington State place name. This spoiled the listening experience for me.
Even with the reader's problems, the story was a difficult one to put aside.
I often get the talking books of stories set in other parts of the world because I want to know how the foreign names and other unfamiliar words are pronounced. This experience makes me wonder if I can trust the readers and/or the producers to get it right.
English major. Love to read
This is such a treat to read. Yes, I live in the northwest so I am already greeting the story with open arms, but it wouldn't matter, truly. Daniel Brown knows how to tell a story which is the essential component for me to veer into the non-fiction realm. He takes a compelling story, humanizes it by closely following one of the participants and creates a momentum that is very hard to resist. I found myself wanting to stop people on the Seattle streets to suggest they read the book. That's a pretty good measure.
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
Excellent telling of the 1936 men's rowing team from UW who won gold in Berlin. The book tells more than just the quest for the gold, it includes the backgrounds of each of the individuals and what brought them to the UW in the first place, their backgrounds, families, etc. It was particularly delightful to me, a Seattleite, as a more vivid picture of my city and state a century ago was painted.
I listened to the book and my only complaint is that the narrator, Edward Hermann, whom I generally LOVE as a narrator, mispronounced many of our Washington state towns, rivers and sites. At least he got Sequim right.
Though I appreciate Mr. Herrmann's voice and style, he managed to mispronounce 90 percent of the words specific to the NorthWest. It pretty much ruined it for me. Went back to reading the book. I have to give credit for his correct pronunciation of the town of Sequim, but pretty much everything else was jarringly wrong.
I live in the Seattle area, and when I tell friends about the audiobook, I warn them that the narrator mispronounces dozens of geographic names. When these names are repeated hundreds of times over the course of the book, listening can be very annoying. I suggest that people read the book rather than listen.
The geographic mispronunciations are inexcusable. Anyone could have asked a Washington native or transplant about the proper pronunciations.
A good editor or publishing house would have made sure that the pronunciations were correct. Terrible oversight for the audible edition of an excellent book. Natives should not have to cringe throughout the reading.
This account of Joe Rantz and how he overcame immeasurable odds young in life is one every young person should learn. Where many would blame others and settle for a life of failure, Joe personified determination and without bitterness became remarkably successful. Athletic teams will be inspired by this story of incredible team building and teamwork!
A young man who struggled through adversity and heartache persevered and triumphed to win an Olympic medal as he understood the power of teamwork!