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
This was a spectacular read. Slow in parts but exceptionally interesting with a great climax followed by the final chapters of each boys life.
These "Boys in the Boat" came to life for me. They were my father's generation and had the similar struggles growing up. I loved Edward Hermann's narration and cried during the epilogue that told what happened to each of the boys later in life.
These were very hard years in our nation's history. Still there are stories like this that uplifted everyone's spirits. Loved the book!
I heard about this book from someone who loves rowing, so I didn't have the highest expectations that it would draw me in like it had him. Boy, was I wrong. From the first listen, I was hooked. Incredible detail, beautiful prose, and impeccable research all went into this book. I will definitely read more by this author. And the narration was superb. I highly recommend!
This book was a little slow to start but I quickly feel in love with the story. I got sucked in and couldn't wait to listen. I was even late to work once because I couldn't turn it off. highly recommend.
The writing is excellent. The story is amazing and so inspirational. The narration brings the it all to life. Loved loved loved this!
Loved the story with such a significant historical backdrop. A great listen; perhaps better in audio than as a read. The performance was great and the characters well developed and engaging. Overall a fantastic account of the 1936 Olympics.
Overcoming adversity - Determination
When Joe was added to the boat and the magic clicked.
Difficult to choose - nine boys, two amazing coaches, spiritual boat building, loyal girlfriend.
Too long to listen in one sitting: Great to listen on road trips, commute, cleaning house.
Loved this book! I was amazed how the author and narrator were able to generate emotions about rowing and be able to understand the technical side of the sport. The epilogue was very well written and concluded the story with a sense of reverse and the hope of continued character building.
I wondered why a book about a rowing crew would be on the best sellers list for so long. It was not only a good surface story, but packed with lessons about hard work, perseverance, and giving oneself up to the whole. I found the book deeply spiritual. It piqued my interest in a sport I had never thought about, enlightened me about the effort, strength, and endurance required in crew rowing, and the importance of "swing". There was a good history lesson embedded about Hitler's calculated PR to blind the world to the evil kept out of sight. It made me want to research the woman who put the propaganda films together. The George Pocock quotes were terrific lead ins to chapters and showed wisdom that was applicable beyond rowing. Pocock's devotion to his craft and the excellence of what he produced were additional inspiration. The performance matched the moods and excitement of the story. A memorable novel.
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