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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, George Yeoman Pocock (Contributor)

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1,8431203,765 (4.31)178
  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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Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
How did nine college students, many of them working class growing up in the Seattle area during the Depression, take the 1936 Berlin Olympics by surprise in their quest for rowing fame? Daniel James Brown takes you step by step, from the technical details of rowing, creating the boat, and the rivalry between Washington and California in rowing, when Joe Rantz and the other boys showed up as freshman in college to their varsity year and finally to the Olympics.

Joe Rantz's story from poor kid, the death of his mother and his father's subsequent remarriage, abandonment and his determination to make something of himself, is very much the heart of this story. Though I liked the technical details for giving me a grasp of a sport I knew nothing about, they also slow down the narrative occasionally "catching a crab" as rowing parlance would have it, making me feel a like the oar of my reading was just a tad stuck in the water. But then an exciting description of a race or the detailed care with which we get to know Joe's thoughts and feelings, or perhaps an observation from one of the other boys, carried me along and finally had me holding my breath through the description of the Olympic race even though I knew the outcome. I was surprised by how little the Olympics played into the story: mostly, it was all about the preparation leading up to that moment. Brown does an excellent job of bringing in other historical details that helped me set the story in a particular time and place, making connections between what was going on in Europe at the time and other sports legends and stories of the 1930s. ( )
  bell7 | Aug 16, 2016 |
Do not miss this book. It is excellent! ( )
  csobolak | Jul 27, 2016 |
Perfection. ( )
  LisaAnn805 | Jul 23, 2016 |
This is the story of how 8 down to earth college students work together to travel from the UW rowing team to the Olympics in Germany during WWII.
  rachel.mcconville | Jul 17, 2016 |
I loved this emotionally charged nonfiction account of the 1936 Olympic men's rowing team that won gold in Berlin. This is narrative nonfiction at its best. These young men came of age out west (they all went to U of Washington) during the Depression. Many of them had hard lives before ever getting in a boat. The author does a great job of explaining the physical and mental demands of rowing. And it's always inspiring to read about teamwork and overcoming the odds. I had a tear in my eye for quite a bit of this book and really loved it.

This would make good Olympic reading before Brazil. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 118 (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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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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Book description
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)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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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