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.
©2013 Daniel James Brown (P)2013 Penguin Audio
Nerd, cook, and avid audiobook reader
This book is very well written and superbly narrated. It was my favorite book this year, so far. It often felt like I was in the boat with those boys.
It is too good a book to try to describe in only 3 words
Focus on the individuals who participated in the team's success
I like all of his narrated books
When they first realized that the "swing" in the boat was achieved by individuals literally pulling together
This is a must read for anyone who has ever participated in team sports. By the end of the book you will know why you did.
I am sad that this book is over. Not only did I feel utterly invested in the story, I felt invested in the boys plights. Enjoyed the descriptions of life and times through the early 1900's until 1936. Those hard years created some amazing, resilient, people. True strength of character which seems, in my opinion, rare to find in many people today. All in all, this book was an absolute joy to listen to.
Yes, I will listen to it again, even though most of the charm of the book is in its surprises (the popularity of rowing, the work environment at the grand coulee dam, etc.). It's a very evocative book, and reminds me strongly of my grandparents.
Joe Rantz, the central character of the book. He has one of those life stories that makes you count your blessings, and rededicate yourself to your own tasks.
The descriptions of the great dustbowl events. The descriptions of the races.
Moments in Joe's childhood (hard to be specific without a spoiler). The final race.
This is a great book for a road trip.
As an avid reader of non fiction I have seen Boys in the Boat on the best seller lists for years. And while I had gotten rave reviews from friends, the subject matter never really prompted me to read it. What a terrible mistake. This book is not only well written, it is superbly narrated by Edward Herrmann who is a master of his trade. Once I read the first few pages I was hooked and listened to it constantly until I finished it. You don't have to know rowing to appreciate this compelling story of extraordinary achievement coming out of the Great Depression on the eve of World War II. It turns out to be one of those life long bonding experiences for those boys in that boat which most of us experience once or twice in our lives, although in most cases on a much less celebrated stage. If ever there was a five star book this is it.
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