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
Absolutely! This is not a read-to-find-out-what-happens book -- it's charm is in the telling. The people are fascinating, better than fictional characters, the technical detail is interesting, and the narrator is perfect.
George Pocock, the shell builder. Pocock was an enigmatic artist, the character in the book I would most like to have known.
Herman's voice is smooth and even. His timing is spot-on, and his intonation is just lively enough to avoid monotony, without overpowering the content.
Yes, though it's a little too long for that.
This book really gives one an appreciation for what the "Greatest Generation" accomplished under such dire circumstances. You don't have to be a sports fan to like this book, although the information on rowing and boat making is fascinating. The story is well thought out and extremely well written. The performance by Edward Herrmann is outstanding, as he always is. I received the printed version as a Christmas gift and it was nice to see the photos that come with printed books. I do wish Audible would have some links to photos, maps, etc that audio book lovers could have access to. The book is very inspiring and uplifting - not just a sports story. It's for anyone that has to overcome formidable obstacles in order to meet goals and objectives. This story is similar to "Unbroken" and the main character in "Unbroken" appears briefly in this book as well. I give this book my highest rating.
Excellent writing, excellent performance, great story. You won't be disappointed with this one. I've been an audible subscriber for years and have never given five stars. This one is truly best in class.
Words cannot express how much I enjoyed this book - the tale of 9 ordinary men who learned something special about pulling together, even in their weak points, and fulfilling a dream that is only a fantasy for billions of people around the globe. Using Joe as a character study, the author paints a picture of a man who came from humble beginnings and tragic abandonment. He would probably be the first to tell you that he was a nobody, really, and yet he, along with eight other men, fumbled and stumbled and clawed their way to the Olympic Games in Nazi Germany in 1936.
This book incorporates many facets, and it doesn't matter if you know or care anything about rowing (I had no knowledge of the sport, and felt like I had been taught a lot without feeling stupid). It will appeal to anyone who has even passing interests in character-development, teamwork, sport, Nazi German history, inspirational tales, or any number of genres. Edward herrman's narration is superb, with the exception of some of the Washington State towns, but this does not take anything away from the performance itself.
BRAVO! Well worth the credit!
I would recommend this and in fact, bought two copies for friends/family.
True story of character and grit triumphing. Especially like the challenge faced by Joe, the protagonist, as he struggles to be a self-made man while being a true (and trusting) member of a team. Given his history of abandonment, this is no easy task.
Herrmann's read feels like he's there with me telling me the story. I can't imagine either "The Boys in the Boat" or "Unbroken" being read by anyone else.
I've never done this before, but as soon as I was done with this book I went back and started listening to it all over again. It's really that good.
I'm a writer of everything from children's picture books to fiction to memoir. I usually listen to nonfiction, mostly history, on Audible simply because I prefer to read novels on the page. The only exception to that rule is short stories and I'm partial to the Selected Shorts Anthologies.
This story of the crew team who won the gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany is moving and engaging. The author brings together the individual stories of the team members while at the same time giving us a clear picture of Berlin in the months leading up to the Olympics. Hitler, Leni Riefenstahl on one side and the heroic dour Dane rowing coach, Al Ulbrickson, and George Pocock, the perfectionist builder of the red cedar boats, on the other. You root for the good guys who learned that depending on each other was the surest way to win. Excellent narration by Edward Herrmann.
Courage, responsibiltiy, and something larger than yourself
I'm from the Seattle area, and it was great to recognize places and events, but it could have taken place anywhere and it was still a great story. The idea of the Greatest Generation and what they had to overcome just to survive - and then you have this group of boys that surpass that with quite courage and will. Loved the interweaving of the story in Seattle with what was going on in Germany.
I always love to listsen to Edward Hermann - and this was one of his best perfomances.
This was truly a great story. It was not as exciting as Unbroken was just as well written and enjoyable. The narration enhanced the story and put you right into the story and the emotions of the characters. This is a book I would strongly recommend and listen to again.
If you want to know why I loved this book read Jay Parini's review in The Guardian from July of 2013. He explains it better than I ever could.
The Boys in the Boat was very nearly perfectly narrated by Edward Herrman, who for me has become THE voice of great historical nonfiction, bios and memoirs.
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