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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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2,2141422,927 (4.32)1 / 212
  1. 41
    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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In a nutshell, the true story of the U. of Washington U.S. rowing team from that won gold at Hitler's 1936 Olympics. It is the story of the underdog, exquisitely written by Daniel James Brown. You don't have to like rowing, or even sports, to love this book. One learns the amazing story of the art of crafting a racing shell and the wisdom of George Pocock, a great craftsman. But the real story is about the nine strangers who became a team and lifelong friends. The author interviewed one of the rowers shortly before his death (Joe Rantz) but also met with his daughter, the families of other rowers, and was given access to documents and photos by family and the university to tell this inspiring story. ( )
  bogopea | Mar 14, 2017 |
I received this book as a Secret Santa gift through Librarything. What a treasure! It is reminiscent of Unbroken and Seabiscuit , in that it's a story of underdogs who overcome tremendous hardship. The story revolves around Joe Rantz, one of the 8 member crew at the University of Washington. As the story progresses, Brown introduces the other members of the crew, and gives some interesting background info of the war in Nazi Germany. The setting was particularly interesting to me, because my German grandparents went to the 1936 Olympics and witnessed these very men win the gold.
The "boys in the boat' were an inspiration to so many, particularly because they were improbable winners. Unlike their Ivy league counterparts, these guys were sons of loggers, farmers and shipyard workers. They lived through the Depression, had to work hard labor to afford their tuition, sometimes working three jobs just to survive. Joe Rantz in particular had a very difficult childhood, having to make it on his own at the young age of 15.
I highly recommend this book. Even to people like me who aren't interested in any sports whatsoever. That's how good the story is. ( )
  homeschoolmimzi | Feb 19, 2017 |
I’ve never rowed in my life (other than a kayak down a lazy stream) nor was I particularly interested in rowing as a sport but I’m a sucker for an underdog story. The eight-man rowing team from the University of Washington who competed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics were definitely the underdogs. Rowing was a sport dominated almost exclusively by the Eastern elite and no one took the Washington team seriously. These were boys of the Great Depression and the sons of working-class families. Most of the story centers on Joe Rantz, who lost his mother at a tender age, was abandoned by his family and left to fend for himself, yet managed to make his way to the University of Washington and onto the rowing team.

It's the personal stories of these boys, their coach, and the eccentric boat builder that make this book shine. The unity of the team, along with their stoicism and perseverance are inspiring and demonstrates what true grit and determination can accomplish. The tension of the races and the strength of character these boys displayed amidst the background of the Great Depression and the rise of the Nazi regime make it a riveting read. I was literally on the edge of my seat during the telling of the Olympic race despite knowing how it would end. And it was deeply gratifying to hear how it was won right in front of Hitler himself.

You don’t have to be a rower to enjoy this book. It’s outstanding storytelling that reads like fiction. Thanks to Daniel James Brown for bringing this story to light. Highly recommended!! ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
I always love it when a story has it's roots in truth and this is just such a story. It's told primarily from the viewpoint of Joe Rantz, one of the nine men from The University of Washington's rowing team, competing in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. This is a real life account of overcoming obstacles and doing whatever it takes to win. The author weaves in many historical events of the time and gives the reader strong characters. Winning a gold medal is not easy; it requires hard work, dedication and team work. This book lets the reader feel what it's like to want, work for and achieve something. Very inspiring.

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  Princetonbookreview | Jan 25, 2017 |
True story of the U.S. rowing team that won gold at Hitler's 1936 Olympics. The kids' backstories were really amazing, as was the tale of how the Olympics were "produced" by the Nazi party. A bit too much detail on how boats are made and rowed, but overall an excellent read. ( )
  technodiabla | Jan 19, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (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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Daniel James Brownprimary authorall editionscalculated
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.
Competitive rowing is an undertaking of extraordinary beauty preceded by brutal punishment.
One of the first admonitions of a good rowing coach, after the fundamentals are over, is “pull your own weight,” and the young oarsman does just that when he finds out that the boat goes better when he does. There is certainly a social implication here. -George Yeoman Pocock
There is a thing that sometimes happens in rowing that is hard to achieve and hard to define. Many crews, even winning crews, never really find it. Others find it but can’t sustain it. It’s called “swing.” It only happens when all eight oarsmen are rowing in such perfect unison that no single action by any one is out of synch with those of all the others. . . . Rowing then becomes a kind of perfect language. Poetry, that’s what a good swing feels like.
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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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