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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… (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Daniel James Brown (Author)

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3,8492332,426 (4.32)1 / 300
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)
Title:The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Authors:Daniel James Brown (Author)
Info:Viking (2013), Edition: Illustrated, 416 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (2013)

  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. 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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Showing 1-5 of 231 (next | show all)
Absolutely fantastic! ( )
  joshcrouse3 | Sep 17, 2021 |
This was simply an amazing book. As the cover of the book indicates, it tells the true story of how the American rowing team went to Berlin and won the gold medal—narrowly defeating the German rowing team. But the book does more than that, as it details the personal stories of those involved and explores the history of rowing, the Great Depression, the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, and how the stage was set for WWII. The stories told in this book are beautifully told and packed with lots of interesting detail and information.

The book focuses particularly on Joe Rantz—a member of the crew—but the stories and histories of the other people involved are just as fascinating and captivating, from the other crew members to their coxswain to their coach to the person who built their boats. You can almost see and hear them as you read this book.

Even knowing the actual outcome of the boat race, the author manages to keep things interesting and even builds suspense. Indeed, this is one of those parts of history where the reality is just as interesting and suspenseful than something you could write.

This book is extremely well-written and I highly recommend it. Easy 5 stars for me. ( )
  bentleymitchell | Aug 27, 2021 |
It's currently only the fifth month of the year, but I already think I know what my favorite book of 2014 will be: "The Boys in the Boat", by Daniel James Brown. It's nonfiction, but reads like a well crafted novel. At first, I thought it would simply be a good sporting book about a group of young men who joined the rowing team at the University of Washington in the mid 1930's, and worked to become one of the best eight-man crews ever.

The descriptions of the rowing races against their rivals from the University of California, the trips cross country to take on the elite rowing teams in the East in the Collegiate Championship races in Poughkeepsie, NY, and ultimately the stunning race for the Olympic Gold Medal at the 1936 Olympics in pre-war Berlin, Germany were thrilling. And as the author noted, those are stories that have been forgotten too long - stories that needed to be resurrected.

But I think of the book as being much broader in scope than just a "sports" story for the guys. In addition to the excitement of the rowing races, the book subtly reinforces valuable lessons in life for all. It's not a self-help book by any means, but it does point out how the good old fashioned American virtues of hard work, perseverance in the face of adversity, teamwork, and dedication can help one overcome all obstacles and lead to success in the end. The personal growth and success of the team transcends the sporting world and is an ultimate "feel good" story that the reader is drawn into and certainly will enjoy. ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
nonfiction (US/German history 1930s; crew/rowing; teamwork)
multiple narratives -- Seattle team (Univ of Washington) from various perspectives, UC Berkeley team, Nazi Germany.
Sometimes I felt the book lagged a bit as the team would take a while to get itself together and the coach would waffle and second-guess his picks for his main team (understandable, since this is nonfiction after all), so I probably wouldn't recommend this to everyone, but it would probably interest anyone who rows Crew, or reads a lot of historical nonfic, or reads a lot of sports writing. I did enjoy reading about Joe's family and all that they went through to make ends meet during the Depression.

For readers who might want a more dramatic, action-packed storyline, try [b:Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption|8664353|Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption|Laura Hillenbrand|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1327861115l/8664353._SY75_.jpg|12946965]. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Loved this book. It was fun to know the places discussed in this book having lived in Seattle and knowing Poughkeepsie, NY too. ( )
  lexiej | Jun 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 231 (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
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.
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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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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Daniel James Brown is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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