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
Terrific story and hard to push pause. Along the same lines as Unbroken as far as quality writing and I believe it is the same narrator.
My daughter Abby recently married Rich Pocock--- great grandson of Dick Pocock and great nephew of George Pocock -- so it was quite fun to hear their family history!
George Pocock was a dedicated and wise gentleman - and so willing to share his expertise with the world. Terrific mentor to Joe Rantz just when he needed it most.
Yes - but never could fit it in... usually listened when driving.
A heart felt true story of the human spirit and bonding that allows teams to sore to new heights together. How wonderful to imagine all the boys - years later having a reunion row!
I enjoy learning history through personal narrative and the times surrounding the second world war seem to be ripe with story, intrigue, and passion. The bits about the boys' relationship and the bits pertaining to how much the sport changed during their racing careers was most interesting to me.
A la Dickens, this story is long in detail, much of it repetitive. I'd recommend a tighter editor. While descriptions of "swing" and the boat's essence are important details in the story, they are overly referenced and elevated to high prose.
Consistent. Listenable. Pleasant.
No, the story isn't rich enough for that. I could maybe see a short documentary, but there isn't enough interesting material here for a movie or TV series.
The narration was great; straightforward and modulated. The story is riveting. The boys on the boat could be representatives of all various social classes in the country and of their personal and financial struggles during this time. The rise of Hilter and his preparation for the Munich games makes a much too interesting and ominous backgound story.
The way it is written is similar to Seabuscuit and Unbroken. I really enjoyed both books because of that writing style.
He was a good nonfiction narrator: nice voice, good rhythm.
It was a little too detailed for one sitting. Three or four sittings could have worked for me.
A great depiction of the hardships of these college students at Washington University and their determination to get through school and excel at rowing. This story covers the haves and have nots at WU as well as the whole history of the nation and the world during this time. I will listen to it again. Fascinating!
At the top - the story was great in and of itself, but the window on history made it even better.
I read the book first in print and then decided I need to listen to it. Some books just require full word to word attention, and I do that better listening than reading, where I tend to skim. So I bought the audible copy, and I am not sorry that I did.
I'm not sure I can think of a comparable book.
Not if I had a choice of narrator. I think when someone is going to read a book set in the Northwest, he should make the effort to learn to pronounce place names consistently. Today, as he said Puyallup, I said, "Yes, he got one right!" and then twenty seconds later he said Poo-yallup. For a NWesterner listening to the mangled place names is painful.
No. I listen as I drive.
The book is extremely well-written. I rowed in college (and still row, though not competitively) and some parts really hit home. But I recommended it to several non-rowing friends and they enjoyed it almost as much as I did. I particularly enjoyed hearing about George Pocock and about how rowing shells were built. Joe's story keeps any of it from being dry or just boringly historic.
Brown has written a wonderful tribute to a talented group of young men. He weaves in details about the issues facing the United States during the 30s as well as Europe as the Nazis prepared for the Olympics with details of the boys who rowed. So well done and well performed.
I read and listen to a lot of history books and this ranks up there with the best. Mr. Brown brings you into the world of rowing, the Depression Era, and Nazi Germany, all while telling a heart-warming story of a kid who overcame neglect and rejection to become, along with the rest of his crew, Gold Medal winners.
Edward Herrmann does his usual fantastic job.
As a general rule, I don't re-listen to books--there are so many other books to enjoy!
The fact that as a listened you know, right from the outset in the prologue, that the boys win the gold medal in rowing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and yet you are riveted all the while to the story of how they got there. I am not a rower, and this book made me appreciate, what an incredibly difficulty and deeply rewarding sport it is. I love books that open a new world to me and help me appreciate something I never considered before.
I commute 2 hours a day, so being read to is my great solace. Being read to by such a masterful narrator is a delight.
I don't want to sit and listen to any book for 11+ hours straight. This is a silly question.
As a long time Audible fan, I often choose books where a lot of reviewers have reiterated the refrain: just listen to this one / you won't be disappointed / etc. This is one of those books. I was not at all interested in rowing or the Olympics in 1936, but the sheer mastery of the story, the writing, the narration, made this a delightful listening experience.
I've been listening to books for a few years at a pace of a about two per month. I would put The Boys in the Boat in my top three favorites.
The breadth and depth of life lessons. The story about the team is awesome, but it is Joe Rantz's personal story that makes this book special.
He is a master of bringing you back to the time period of the story.
It was definitely hard to stop listening, but I also didn't want it to end, so I just convinced my self it was worth stretching out a bit.
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