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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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4,4822392,239 (4.32)1 / 316
This is the remarkable story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal. 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.… (more)
  1. 51
    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. 01
    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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 Book talk: CooperB5: Boys in The Boat2 unread / 22wonderY, September 2016

» See also 316 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 236 (next | show all)
Really good account of of 9 American rowers from the Seattle area who come together and eventually make it to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Very inspiring story about relationships and teamwork and effort. Some sad parts about the Great Depression in America and how one of them was abandoned by his family at a young age. Very worthwhile reading along the lines of Seabiscuit, etc. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
This book tells the true story of the University of Washington crew who represented the United States at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. I learned a lot about the sport of crew and what life was like during the Depression. While it purports to be about nine young men (The Boys in the Boat), it is mostly focused on Joe Rantz, and his story is told in depth. I wish the author had been able to provide this type depth on the other eight. My guess is that too much time had passed. I found the beginning a bit slow in developing, but the ending was fast-paced and fascinating. ( )
  Castlelass | Nov 9, 2022 |
Audible book from Libby App. ( )
  MaryRachelSmith | Sep 17, 2022 |
Good non-fiction emotional uplifting Book club book from Sherry/Christy ( )
  PatLibrary123 | Aug 9, 2022 |
Incredibly well-sourced and written with love and passion, this is a great in-depth story of the 1936 Olympic crew team. It misses four stars by being quite long and not pulling in more global details as it focuses on the life of one crew member in particular. ( )
  tkatie217 | Mar 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 236 (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
Brown, Daniel Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martin, GrégoryTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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.
...he found that shaping cedar resonated with him in an elusive but elemental way--it satisfied him down in his core, and gave him peace...He liked the way that the wood murmured to him before it parted, almost as if i was alive, and when it finally gave way under his hands he liked the way it invariably revealed itself in lovely and unpredictable patterns of color--streaks of orange and burgundy and cream. At the same moment, as the wood opened up, it always perfumed the air...There seemed to Joe to be some kind of connection between what he was doing here among a pile of freshly split shakes, what Pocock was doing in his shop, and what he was trying to do himself in the racing shells Pocock built--something about the deliberate applicaiton of stregth, teh careful coordinaiton of mind and muscle, the sudden unfolding of mystery and beauty. (p.127)
to Pocock, this unflagging resilience--this readiness to bounce back, to keep coming, to persist in the face of resistance--was the magic in cedar, the unseen force that imparted life to the shell. (p.139)
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This is the remarkable story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal. 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.

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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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Average: (4.32)
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