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

by Daniel James Brown

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8185811,119 (4.29)75
  1. 21
    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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This book richly deserves all the accolades it has earned. I read it shortly after publication and have been recommending it enthusiastically ever since. I had no idea that the United States had won the gold medal in crew at the 1936 Olympics, so almost all of what I read was new to me. Brown has the ability to create suspense where there should be none (the book wouldn't have been written if the story weren't one of victory), and his raw material is just an amazing story on myriad levels. ( )
  LizHD | Mar 25, 2015 |
Amazing personal interest story told against the backdrop of the Great Depression in Washington State and rise of Nazism in Germany. Best story of amateur athletes I have ever read. You do not have to know anything about rowing crew to appreciate what these nine young men accomplished. The chapter epigraphs have an almost mystical quality to them. Anyone who grew up in Seattle will be drawn into the story. Highly recommended for everyone. ( )
  BookWallah | Mar 10, 2015 |
I love detailed descriptions, and this book was packed with them. The historical facts, objects, and events sprinkled throughout, pull you deep into the time period. Personal facts and experiences were layered onto the main character, Joe Rantz, so completely that at times I suspected an omniscient narrator was constructing a fictionalized person. Then I finished the book and read about the incredible research Brown did and the access he had to Joe and his family. Brown’s description, based on such intimate knowledge of his life, is not fictionalized, but an amazing revelation of the real Joe Rantz. But, for me, the best part of the book was Brown’s flawless descriptions of the details of the sport. They took me back to my own high-school days rowing on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. I remember the cold, wet practices, the blistered hands, Bachelor’s Barge Club, the races. I know what Brown means when describing the interactions between the team members, and recall some of my teammates fondly. I had no idea, however, what a huge national phenomenon crew was just twenty-five years before it was my turn in the boat. ( )
  drardavis | Mar 6, 2015 |
I find this book to be on a par with Seabiscuit and Unbroken! It is the story of the making of men and the building of boats. It is exciting and educational. And, it made me cry! ( )
  elsyd | Feb 26, 2015 |
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown is a nonfiction book that relates history in a beautifully readable narrative. Through the personal story of one young man, this book covers the global story of the years leading up to World War II. I never had an interest in rowing, nor do I really have one now; but, for the 400 pages of this book, I turned into an avid fan.

Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2015/02/the-boys-in-boat-nine-americans-and.htm... ( )
  njmom3 | Feb 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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
First words
(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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:38 -0400)

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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