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The Boys in the Boat Audiobook

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    Michael Bates CHARLOTTE, NC, United States 08-16-13
    Michael Bates CHARLOTTE, NC, United States 08-16-13
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    "Good book, starts pretty slow however"
    What did you like best about The Boys in the Boat? What did you like least?

    Like everyone, I like a good story about overcoming daunting odds, persevering despite the curve balls life throws at you. This is what this story is about. It centers around Joe and his epic struggles through honestly his youngest and most formative years. It proceeds through his life and ultimately to the culmination of all of his efforts, to the 1936 olympics in Berlin. Everyone roots for the underdog and it'll make you tear up b/c you can honestly at times feel the pain he felt and the sweet taste of victory as well.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Expected, but it still had quite an impact b/c you went through such an emotional journey with Joe, the main character in the book. Even if you know the results, you don't know the journey, which is what made the ending special.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Joes girlfriend and father on the side of the course when Washington raced Cal and Joe finally getting that feeling of racing for someone other than himself, someone else being able to see what he made of himself.


    Any additional comments?

    I think the book was too slow to progress; it seems like it took chapters to get to much in the way of anything interesting. I understand that the character development was critical in order to give the reader the true impact of the looming success, but I honestly thought about trading the book in for the first few hours. Ultimately glad I listened to it, but man...a bit slow in the first 25%

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan PEARLAND, TX, United States 06-24-13
    Susan PEARLAND, TX, United States 06-24-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Exciting true story of courage and determination"
    Would you listen to The Boys in the Boat again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    George Pocock, the shell builder. Pocock was an enigmatic artist, the character in the book I would most like to have known.


    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, though it's a little too long for that.


    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CBlox Las Vegas, NV 07-24-13
    CBlox Las Vegas, NV 07-24-13 Member Since 2015
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    "unforgettable and timeless"

    if you liked Lauren Hillenbrand's Unbroken you will love The Boys in the Boat. This book was put together very well and was obviously well-researched. I enjoyed the stories of the individual men who were part of the 1936 University of Washington Crew team as well as lead up to the Olympics. The author, Daniel James Brown, takes the reader right into the boat and into the lives of these extraordinary men.
    A huge credit has to be given to the incredible narration done on this book. Edward Hermann has narrated many books and have enjoyed most of his work. He has a cadence and sharpness to his voice that is fits the subject matter accurately. He manages to transport the listener to the era of the book. In this case I felt like the year was actually 1936 and I was listening to the story unfold on an old radio.

    Well done!

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Kellett Seattle, WA United States 08-22-14
    Michele Kellett Seattle, WA United States 08-22-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Narrative Gold"

    It's fairly astonishing that no one has stumbled onto this story before: it is narrative gold. Brown is not the most elegant writer, but he is a diligent researcher, and skillfully moves between the personal and particular, and the grander themes of the Depression and WWII. And, of course, the story is inherently thrilling, full of vivid characters and the vast machinery of history. Yes, we know how the story ends -- but the reader is nonetheless on the edge of his seat throughout.

    One cavil with the otherwise excellent narration: many of the place names in the Northwest are hideously mispronounced. I will grant that "Puyallup" is a challenge (it's "pew-AL-up", not "pile-up") but Alki??? It's "ALK-EYE" not "al-kee", as if an entire neighborhood were deemed a drunk.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. M. Kerwin 05-16-14
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    "Great historical detail, distracting production"

    The historical detail is fantastic. Although, if you're not from the Pacific Northwest, and generally familiar with the area, I could see it becoming tedious. The story is generally an interesting one, and the author propels it forward well. The language can be a bit overwrought and oddly pseudo-spiritual at times. My main complaint is this- the narrator does an otherwise great job, but in a book in which geographic detail and place description is at the heart of the story, he mispronounces way too many place names. Way too many. It can be very distracting.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy 09-12-14
    Cindy 09-12-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Great story, narrator didn't do his homework."
    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful story, but the narrator made many egregious (too numerous and irritating to be laughable) mispronunciations of Pacific Northwest place names. If you're from Washington state you'll be happier reading it than listening to it. Penguin Books: don't you have editors?

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Van Voris ATTLEBORO, MA, US 06-28-13
    Richard Van Voris ATTLEBORO, MA, US 06-28-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Well rowed Washington,well rowed."
    Where does The Boys in the Boat rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top 5. An inspiring story story,well told. It has it all, suspense, excitement.
    An outstanding narration which matches perfectly the prose.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved it all. That sounds like a cliche but in this case it is true.


    Have you listened to any of Edward Herrmann’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not heard him before, but it won't be my last, he did a great job.


    Any additional comments?

    As a rower and a boat builder I am glad on of my personal heros,George Pocock is so important in this story. I hope that even if the listener has never rowed a good wooden shell that they will understand the magic. The author and the narrator have done a great job to bring that experience to life.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elle in the Great NorthWest OREGON 03-02-16

    ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance

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    "My Favorite Non-Fiction book for Years"

    Inspiring, heart warming and a great listen, "The Boys in the Boat" really got to me. Edward Hermann was the perfect narrator for Daniel Browns story of a group of 17-20 year olds, all of whom strive to be the best at what they are doing. It follows them from Freshmen thru their Senior year as well as also following the evolution of a boatbuilder who refined the wood ships that were then the only ships available.

    Even though they weren't necessarily the best students scholastically they are the type of teens I wish were around now. Living in the NorthWest as I do, I was surprised I hadn't heard about the Huskies Rowing Crew of 1936. After finishing my non stop listen, I called my sister and brother, both of whom went to U-Dub, which is, for some reason I haven't yet learned, is the locals nickname for Washington State University in Seattle. The story takes place during the depression and also describes the hard work the young team members did to pay their tuition and the evolution of the Dust Bowl which happened at the same general period of time.

    These guys rowed in the 8 man boat in the 1936 Olympics, which were held in Berlin prior to the start of Hitlers rise to fame. While Germany swept all the other rowing awards, this team from the boonies, made up of loggers, fisherman's and farmers sons competed for against 4 years against the elite song men from Princeton, Yale, Navy, and other 'upper class' and wealthy of the East Coast. About the only other West Coast team mentioned was the Olympic Medal willing Cal State team from Berkley, who won Olympic Gold for 2 years prior to and several years after U-Dub's big win.

    Daniel Brown injects a bit of humor into this biography of a cedar boat when he writes about the huge class differences between the coasts when writes about the differences in rowing apparel. Everyone from the East Coast schools wore nice and matching uniforms while the Husky team wore old sweats and mismatched T-shirts..even when rowing at the Olympics.

    This is the kind of story that makes me proud to be both an American and a NorthWesterner. It is an ideal listen for long family road trips and is sure to inspire teens towards athletic endeavors-not just crewing.

    Good also for anyone who enjoys sports stories and even WWII or depression era novels. I also decided to purchase "Unbroken", another biographically oriented novel about the same Olympics-and it's narrated by Edward Hermann also. As many of you know, "Unbroken" has been made into a movie-and I think "The Boys in the Boat" should also be made into a film, if it hasn't been yet.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danny E Sieg New England 09-14-15
    Danny E Sieg New England 09-14-15 Member Since 2016

    Danny E Sieg

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    "Excellently READ, enjoyable storyline!"

    THIS story had my attention from the beginning and kept my interest from day to day. It was such a new found bit of knowledge that it was freely giving that "gotcha" sensation at more than a normal pace. The story's setting takes place 20 years before MY Time, but was not difficult to find myself deep within the fan based spectators. Even knowing the climax event took me away from listening each evening before retiring, which has become a relaxation technique I enjoy. THIS BOOK is worthy of ones effort to listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrian Howard 09-13-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Riveting and inspiring story"

    I bought this book not knowing what is was about, but what a great surprise! I listen to books while running or doing projects. The boys inspired me to run faster and work harder. Listen to this even if you think it is not for you. It belongs in the section titled "nonfiction that reads like fiction."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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