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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and…

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the… (2013)

by Daniel James Brown, George Yeoman Pocock (Contributor)

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1,476985,042 (4.3)131
Recently added byprivate library, kellifrobinson, bjoelle5, WintersRose, Suusan, suze2001, dg2books, LMCmarshall
  1. 31
    Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (terran)
    terran: Both books deal with participants in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and with personal stories of individuals growing up in that time period. Both are incredible true stories that read like fiction.
  2. 00
    Bucking the Sun by Ivan Doig (terran)
    terran: Even though Doig's book is fiction, it deals with people struggling to make a living during the Great Depression. Both books deal with the construction of massive public works that employed thousands. (Hoover Dam and Fort Peck Dam)

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» See also 131 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
I have no doubt that this just might be the very best book I read all year---I just loved it. I felt as though I was right there, not just on the shore watching the men practice, but right there in the shell with them. What an experience! The challenge of writing this book with this degree of depth seems almost overwhelming---but Brown succeeded. I completely understand why I was told not to miss reading this book!!!! ( )
  nyiper | Feb 7, 2016 |
I'd rate this between a 3 and a 4. The facts were certainly interesting and a look at into the athlete's histories made it more interesting. During the first third of the book I kept wishing Erik Larson had written it. The latter portions definitely picked up speed. ( )
  nljacobs | Jan 19, 2016 |
In "The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Quest for the Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics," Daniel James Brown explores an extraordinary moment in forgotten sports history. During the 1920s and 1930s, college crew teams were incredibly popular, ranking as high as football and baseball do now. One of the most popular rivalries was between the strongest Western teams, the University of Washington and the University of California at Berkeley.

The author explores the backstory of many of the key players in this rivalry but focuses on one specific member of the Washington crew team, Joe Rantz. After his mother dies of cancer and his father and new stepmother abandon him, he does everything he can to stay alive. Eventually he will take some of the worst jobs available during the Depression to try to keep himself in food, shelter, and college. His future wife, Joyce, is also a key part of the story. We also get to know George Yeoman Pocock, a renowned British oarsman who emigrates to Washington and sculpts unequaled shells of native red cedar in his workshop at the university boathouse. One of my favorite characters was 'the ninth man' Bobby Moch, the brilliant coxswain, who fearlessly holds back his crew to 29 or 32 strokes per minute, before unleashing them for sprinting victories.

The Boys in the Boat is a surprisingly suspenseful tale of team-winning camaraderie and triumph. It's an absorbing, sometimes thrilling piece of history that will appeal to a wider audience than sports fans. In many ways it reminds me of Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit. Set in one of America's worst times, the courage of the young crew team will make you cheer.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
3.5 stars. It's hard not to enjoy a feel good sports story where the players defy the odds and succeed despite grueling hardships. The writing in this book did not stand out to me in anyway but the story was interesting and worth telling. ( )
  Lynsey2 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Book on CD narrated by Edward Herrmann

At the 1936 Olympics nine working-class boys from the University of Washington in Seattle took the gold medal in eight-man crew at the Berlin Olympics. This is their story, but particularly the story of the man in the #7 seat – Joe Rantz.

In the tradition of Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Unbroken this is a story of strength, courage, tenacity and triumph in the face of great obstacles. In a sport that traditionally attracted the scions of wealthy families, these young men stood out. They were the sons of farmers, shipyard workers, and lumberjacks; families who were struggling through the Great Depression. They spent their summers working hard labor to earn enough money to stay in school, and between rowing workouts, classes and studying they also worked odd jobs on campus as janitors or dishwashers.

Their Coach, Al Ulbrickson, recognized in these boys something special. All rowers need strength – physical, intellectual, and emotional – and all world-class athletes need a singular focus, but a rowing crew needs to also work as one in a way that no other sports team requires.

I have to admit I’ve only paddled a canoe a few times, and I felt the burn even then. I can only try to imagine what effort and endurance was required for these boys. Brown does a marvelous job explaining the physics of the sport, from the construction of the shell to the physiological stresses on the human body.

It’s a marvelous story, inspiring and heartfelt, and Brown does a superb job telling it. I was never bored, even by the minute details of qualities of wood (and why the American cedar was so superior to previous woods used in constructing shells). I was fascinated by the strategy of rowing. Obviously, I knew how it would turn out, but I was on the edge of my seat during the passages describing various races.

The late Edward Herrmann is a marvelous narrator and does a superb job of the audio version. 5***** for his performance.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
In “The Boys on the Boat,” Daniel James Brown tells the astonishing story of the UW’s 1936 eight-oar varsity crew and its rise from obscurity to fame, drawing on interviews with the surviving members of the team and their diaries, journals and photographs. A writer and former writing teacher at Stanford and San Diego, Brown lives outside of Seattle, where one of his elderly neighbors harbored a history Brown never imagined: he was Joe Rantz, one of the members of the iconic UW 1936 crew.
[Daniel James] Brown's book juxtaposes the coming together of the Washington crew team against the Nazis' preparations for the [1936 Berlin Olympic] Games, weaving together a history that feels both intimately personal and weighty in its larger historical implications. This book has already been bought for cinematic development, and it's easy to see why: When Brown, a Seattle-based nonfiction writer, describes a race, you feel the splash as the oars slice the water, the burning in the young men's muscles and the incredible drive that propelled these rowers to glory.
added by sgump | editSmithsonian, Chloë Schama (Jun 1, 2013)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel James Brownprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pocock, George YeomanContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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It's a great art, is rowing. It's the finest art there is. It's a symphony of motion. And when you're rowing well, why it's nearing perfection. And when you near perfection, you're touching the Divine. It touches the you of you. Which is your soul. - George Yeoman Pocock
(But I desire and I long every day to go home and to look upon the day of my return . . . for already I have suffered and labored at so many things on the waves.) - Homer
For Gordon Adam Chuck Day Don Hume George "Shorty" Hunt Jim "Stub" McMillin Bob Moch Roger Morris Joe Rantz John White Jr. and all those other bright, shining boys of the 1930s - our fathers, our grandfathers, our uncles, our old friends
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(Prologue) This book was born on a cold, drizzly, late spring day when I clambered over the split-rail cedar fence that surrounds my pasture and made my way through wet woods to the modest frame house where Joe Rantz lay dying.
Monday, October 9, 1933, began as a gray day in Seattle.
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Brown quotes so extensively from George Pocock's diaries and letters, that I consider Pocock to be a contributor to the book. His wisdom helps to make this one memorable and deeply moving.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067002581X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:00 -0400)

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Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washingtons 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.

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