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
I have been a member of audible for years and this is one of the best ever. The story is well researched and the history that occurs during the time makes it difficult to put down, Recommend this to anyone if you like rowing or not. Will not disappoint
Retired Army, avid listener
I have been an Audible listener for over 10 years, this book is at the top of my recommendation list and one of the very few I rate 5 stars all across! Listening to this book was amazing, hit on many emotional levels, great performance, and just what I needed after recent selections that were less than stellar.
If you like Laura Hillenbrand's books (Seabiscuit, Unbroken) this one will be a winner! I workout on indoor rowers- this book was an incredible description of what it takes to compete at world class levels (which I don't come close too), makes me want to get on the water. Seriously, an amazing story, gave me chills on some passages while doing yard work in DC heat/humidity. If you want to know what some of the greatest generation was doing before WWII, give this book a shot.
I could go on, I could offer suggestions, but just download this book and enjoy a great story. I hear it is coming out as a movie- I can only hope it does. You will want to listen to the book first, then go to YouTube and watch some of the old footage of the 1936 Olympics! This book should be required reading for every crew team, at any level!
An excellent book and narration. It's particularly good if you are interested in rowing.
Never has the heyday of crew racing been so royally described and treated, that and the intense historical backdrop to pre-war Hitler's Germany. What a book! What a story! Get it, read it, enjoy it! The narration is perfection itself, the writing as well. Miramax has already snatched up movie rights and the The Weinstein Company is writing a script as we speak. I'll be first in line to see it!
I quite enjoyed Edward Hermann's narration.
As a former cox, the joy of the book was discovering the history of rowing. Commands that I learned in the 1970's were the same ones used in the 20's and 30's. I wish I had read this book while crewing.
The story itself lacks details about many member of the Olympic crew and almost everything about their lives after college, which is while I awarded only 4 stars. For anyone with a rowing background, however, this is a 5 star must read.
A story of courage and unbelievable non-human strength.
How the author went back and forth between the bigger picture of what was about to happen in the world and the story of 9 boys who played a small but significant role in that history!
The moment of Olympian victory. And the prologue.
I put "surprising discovery" in the title of my review because I usually jump at a chance to purchase a book with hundreds of great reviews and 5 stars! This one only had 10 reviews, but I was curious about the title. So GLAD I did!
It is a great story and documents American life in the Depression and Germany's rising power.
In the midst of world events of great magnitude, is a wonderful story of grit and human determination, well illustrated by the book's focus on one rower, his abandoning family and his remarkable will.
He makes every story he does important and enjoyable.
This is a story about America during a critical time. Everyone who has a relative who lived through the depression, will learn and grow from reading/listening to this book.
We loved the story. Compelling, human and well developed. The development of not only the Husky Crew team but the German war machine gave a sense of history that added another dimension to the book. We are rowers and Seattle residents. That combo made the book a top favorite for us. Even if you aren't into rowing or from Seattle, it is a gripping book that never seems to lag.
The only issue is that the narrator has never been to Seattle. He needed to ask a local how to pronounce a half dozen local words. As an example, Alki beach is pronounced Alk-Eye...not Al-Key.
It seemed like it would be an interesting story, but after listening for hours, I found I just couldn't get into it and I gave up. I think it could have moved along faster, but there were too many details bogging it down.
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.
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