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
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
You would not have thought that a book about crew and I would be at all compatible! My only knowledge of rowing comes from when I was a kid shuffling my Dad from one place to another while he caught no fish. I always took a book!
No matter, this listen is for everyone. The writing and the boys of the title are so sublime that the story skims along - as quick and lightly as "The Boat" itself. Daniel James Brown has taken exactly the right approach to telling the tale. He chose a few individuals whose compelling personal lives frame the excitement of the sports action with emotion and genuine feeling. Then he finished with the extraordinary circumstances of that particular Olympics of 1936.
It's a crackerjack combination. I am so grateful that I chose this Audible offering - mostly on a whim. Brown's exemplary writing, the inspiration of the story, and the perfectly measured voice of Edward Herrmann create an almost transcendent listening experience! An amazing book!! I am in awe!
I wish more books like this were available on audible. It was the most thrilling and uplifting story I've read in a long time! I wasn't sure I'd be interested in a rowing team from 1936, but I was wrong. I LOVED this story!
Don't pass this book up. You need not know a thing about rowing. Often rowing is associated with Ivy League snobs, or dapper Englishmen from Oxford. This book will change that misconception! You might even become a fan of the sport. :)
Perfect narration, incredible story! Easily the best audiobook of 2013.
This is a well-written, highly entertaining and motivating story within a larger story of WWII. Good drama, good character development.
Please, please - if you are going to read about real geographic locations, correctly pronounce the names. Juan de Fuca, Skagit, Alki on and on - ALL BUNGLED. It's really detracting.
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.
In the top 5. An inspiring story story,well told. It has it all, suspense, excitement.
An outstanding narration which matches perfectly the prose.
I loved it all. That sounds like a cliche but in this case it is true.
I have not heard him before, but it won't be my last, he did a great job.
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.
Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.
There are many descriptions of this non-fiction read, however, what I found most interesting was that it gave a great deal of history about Washington, Oregon and has a sprinkle of Long Beach thrown in during the depression. It is very informative about what this group of men, their families, and their cities went through during that time. It also included history surrounding Germany's rise to power and how they hid what was actually going on during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
It is a book about rowing which sounds boring but it is actually interesting and exciting.
While I was reading this book I thought reading books like this is what makes life worth living. Oh I wish I could find more books like this -- exciting, inspirational, struggles, pain, perseverance, heroes.
My favorite quote: Joe’s girlfriend was angry about something done to Joe and said to him “I just don’t understand why you don’t get angry.” Joe said “It takes energy to get angry. It eats you up inside. I can’t waste my energy like that and expect to get ahead. When they left, it took everything I had in me just to survive. Now I have to stay focused. I’ve just got to take care of it myself.”
MY ONE COMPLAINT:
There are pictures in the physical book, but NO PICTURES for audiobook buyers. To the author and publisher: Please include pictures in a PDF file for audio buyers to download.
Fred Hermann was fabulous – clear voice, good interpretations. He reads like he’s interested in what he’s reading. He should do more books.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: nonfiction, sports history.
Loved reading about local(for me) history. A bit over dramatized. Totally irritating that the narrator did not take the time to learn how to pronounce the names of towns bad neighborhoods. Repeating the name of the local newspaper over and over again and pronouncing it incorrectly was like nails on a chalk board. If you didn't know the correct pronunciations you will love it.
The way he pronounced the names of places was irritating to me because I knew how they were supposed to be pronounced
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.
I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
Boys in the Boat (BITB) is a powerful and entertaining book that allows the reader/listener to forget their reading non-fiction. The story brings together a confluence of historical events that make for an intriguing story: the Great Depression, the sport of crewing at its height of popularity, Berlin's 1936 Olympics, and the impending start of WWII. Author, Daniel James Brown, writes with a certain sense of ease and realism that conjures up the spirit of the times.
As a reader, I gained a much greater understanding and respect the sport of crewing upon reading BITB. Brown does an outstanding of reviewing the history of crewing, the athletic efforts needed to be a part of a crew team, comradely needed to be a successful crew team, and the strategy needed to win races. Equally gripping was the explanations about how families survived day to day during the Great Depression. Brown also tells the personal stories of the University Washington crew members, which allows the reader a very personal interaction the subject matter. All of these elements are seamlessly woven together to identify the country's emerging character that would dominate the post WWII area and be termed by Tom Brokaw as the "greatest generation".
Brown's best work is spent detailing the propaganda efforts on the behalf of Hitler, Leni Riefenstahl, and German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who attempted to use the spectacle of the 1936 Olympics to support their fantasies of racial superiority. Brown's research and spot-on storytelling brings the story to an exciting climax.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading/listening to BITB for the characters, story, and historical significance. Reportedly, the movie rights have been sold to Miramax, which Kenneth Branagh is scheduled to direct. In my rank order system of the 64 books I have over the last two year, BITB lands in the 12th position.
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