The #1 New York Times–bestselling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany, the inspiration for the PBS documentary The Boys of '36, broadcast to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 80th anniversary of the boys' gold medal race.
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
Reading allows me to travel through time; to visit the world's unique and stunning places. To become somebody I am not... It is glorious.
If you haven't read this book -- do so. It is a fascinating & captivating story of perseverance and dedication. Many reviewers compare this story to the story of Seabiscuit which is appropriate as even the author made that comparison. But I agree with another reviewer who compared the story to the 1980 Men's Hockey Team. There were threatened boycotts that year; there was a similar political unrest and the team was not expected to win the Gold. It was a true underdog story much like the one in this book.
Although I love the underdog in sport storyline I was much more taken with the human story of Joe Rantz and his life of poverty in Depression era America. I was heartbroken when Joe was abandoned by family - twice! I was joyful when he found love with Joyce. I was frustrated when his coach demoted Joe. And I longed to help Joe on his journey into adulthood and through college.
This book read like a novel. It is textured, nuanced and smooth. I was bewitched in the first few notes and fell in love with the man and the sport before the book ended.
Edward Hermann's dulcet voice is both authoritative and tender. He tells the story with strength and suppleness. I adore his tone and am sad that he no longer lives to record many, many more.
Despite knowing the ending I was still riveted to listening and hoping would they win or not. I have a real connection with the story as both of my children rowed crew and my son went to the university of Washington and rowed for the Huskies.
Listening to Edward Herrmann tell this story did not touch my heart; instead, it etched something beautiful into it ... I feel incredible gratitude to Daniel James Brown for this magnificent book.
I very much enjoyed this account of a remarkable moment in history. Wonderful contextual storytelling! I only wish that the story continued, following the boys as they became men in post-World War America.
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