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
If my friend had not told me this was the best book she read in 2014, I never would have finished it. It was a long, slow start. But I'm so very glad I stuck with it. Once the foundation had been laid, the story pick up and I could hardly put it down. Such a wonderful and inspirational story. And it gave me insight into why my mother, who enrolled in U of W in 1936, was so proud that my father had been a crew member at Yale. The pieces have fallen into place.
This story begged to be told with the author and narrator making it unforgettable and patriotic in the best sense.
What a fantastic story, beautifully told. Four stars instead of five only because he mispronounced many Seattle place names, which is jarring. But otherwise a flawless, beautiful performance.
I've heard that the story is superb for everyone, but if you're a rower it will have you twitching on the edge of your seat.
The narrative interleaves the rise of UW's varsity crew in the 1930s with Hitler's rise to power. This makes for some abrupt transitions, but also provides a growing tension in both storylines until they converge in Berlin in the summer of 1936.
I really enjoyed his voice and it was read well but, being from Washington myself, he didn't pronounce many of the Washington towns' names properly. Even still, a great listen!
The story is remarkable. I found the back stories of the characters, prior to the Olympics journey, at least as compelling as the main story. Richly and beautifully written.
The obvious comparison would be to "Unbreakable" but I found this work to be far more enjoyable and uplifting. There are not many books that compare to this for sheer reading and listening pleasure.
Edward Herman is so talented. Having a first class actor interpret the story adds so much to the book.
This book will overcome you, with a nonfiction story of history. A novel in which you will experience, leaning, joy, and heartbreak. It ranks as a story of all stories. A must read. My next stop will be the purchase of the hard cover.
This really held my attention. It's a true story and a great one! All wonderful characters and story material. So glad all of this information did get put down in print! This book is for anyone that loves a good book from the beginning to the end. Plus I learned a little more about Adolf Hitler and the history of pre-war Germany. I was sorry when it was over!
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