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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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  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 10-24-13
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 10-24-13

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

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    "Pure Adrenalin! An Absolute Delight"

    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!

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annie M. 08-19-13
    Annie M. 08-19-13 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

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    "You will cheer, even if you've never crewed!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Boys in the Boat the most enjoyable?

    Daniel James Brown takes a story about nine "boys," shows us how those "boys" were just regular people like the rest of us. And then he tells a wonderful tale of how, by committing to one another, they achieve something truly great. This is a book that highlights a little-remembered moment in history that is was so remarkable, it's chill-inducing.

    I do want to add the cautionary note that after reading this book, there is a high likelihood that you will lose several hours on YouTube, watching the amazing footage of these young men at the Berlin Olympics.


    What did you like best about this story?

    One can never really go wrong when combining the stellar Edward Hermann with a great story. But in addition to that, this is a story everyone can relate to. It is about hard times, it is about pain, both physical and emotional. It is about fear. It is about going forward despite those things.

    The sport of rowing has sadly devolved into being viewed as a very elitist activity. But from the late 1800s well into the later part of the last century, crew was a wildly popular sport, akin to baseball today. THE BOYS IN THE BOAT brings alive these nine young men, from humble--and even horrible--backgrounds and tells how they captured the attention of the entire world.

    This book showcases one of the most demanding sports there is, and how these boys used that sport to quietly put Hitler in his place.


    Which character – as performed by Edward Herrmann – was your favorite?

    It's not really a character, but rather a moment that sticks out for me in this book. It is Hermann's narration of the final race at the Olympics. I already knew the result. But his description of the actual race--written captivatingly by Brown--had me on the edge of my chair. I found myself upset, anxious, pacing...and ultimately cheering.

    I do want to add that I really loved the character of George Pocock, who built his handmade wooden racing shells with the quiet spirit of a Zen master. His quotes, which preface each chapter, can most assuredly be applied to rowing. But why stop there? Use them in life, as well.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "Chariot of Fire"--with oars. You will cheer!!


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of those rare books that can capture any reader. I've given it to friends who love crew--naturally, they loved the book. But I've also given it to my 80-year-old mother, who loved it despite having no interest in rowing whatsoever. I've given it to my BFF, who mostly reads romances and frothy mysteries--and she loved it.

    To date, I've purchased 13 copies of this book, both in hard copy and audio. I've received back a 100% recommendation! Everyone loves this book.

    In a few years, this book will be a fabulous film and it will sweep the Oscars. Read it now, so you can say "Oh yes. I read that story when it first came out. Great book. Better than the movie actually." ; )

    17 of 22 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.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CBlox Las Vegas, NV 07-24-13
    CBlox Las Vegas, NV 07-24-13 Listener Since 2004
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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!

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy N Mission Viejo, CA 07-04-14
    Andy N Mission Viejo, CA 07-04-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Inspiring story"
    Would you listen to The Boys in the Boat again? Why?

    Yes. While we know how it ends, the journey to get there is worth hearing over and over again.


    What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice can deliver a story


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    How the seemingly ordinary can be extraordinary


    Any additional comments?

    Despite some over-the-top up turns of phrase and descriptions (think Cold Mountain) that trigger several eye rolls, as well as Edward Herman's tortured pronunciations of Washington place names (not sure that is actually his fault-where was quality control?), the story is just a great one. Growing up in Washington and attending UW, I've always known the story without knowing the STORY. And it's a great one. You can't help but beam with pride and unquestionably admire what these ordinary folks accomplished in some of the toughest times in America.

    4 of 5 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
  •  
    Jody 08-02-14
    Jody 08-02-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Story - Bungled Read"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a well-written, highly entertaining and motivating story within a larger story of WWII. Good drama, good character development.


    What three words best describe Edward Herrmann’s performance?

    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.


    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Bates CHARLOTTE, NC, United States 08-16-13
    Michael Bates CHARLOTTE, NC, United States 08-16-13 Member Since 2016
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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%

    10 of 14 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
  •  
    Douglas Lobdell Jr. Colorado Springs, Colorado 01-03-17
    Douglas Lobdell Jr. Colorado Springs, Colorado 01-03-17 Member Since 2004
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    "Another Great True Story that Beats Fiction!"
    Would you listen to The Boys in the Boat again? Why?

    Absolutely. Brown has done some great research into a little-known but amazing sports story, and he flows that superb background into an excellent tale of determination and triumph.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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