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The Boys in the Boat

Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics

Brown, Daniel, 1951-

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Boys in the Boat
Print
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.
Publisher: New York :, Viking,, [2013]
ISBN: 067002581X (hardcover)
9780670025817 (hardcover)
Branch Call Number: 797.123097 BRO
Characteristics: 404 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

How a rowing team from the University of Washington took a gold medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Discussed: September 15, 2014

List - Duvall Reads 2014-2015 by: DuvallLibrary Aug 18, 2014

Duvall Reads, Oct. 11 at 10am

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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Jan 28, 2015
  • Nymeria23 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

The story of the incredible crew from Washington.
The only reason I read this story was for my book group. I tend to steer clear of the non-fiction section altogether. This book was challenging for me, and it took forever just to get ten pages, but I found I really enjoyed it. Though most of the rowing terminology went right over my head and caused me to get bored, I loved Joe Rantz's story and found myself mentally cheering the boys on in their races. I actually cried many and multiple times during the sections on Joe's family life. It was just so heartbreaking and written so well that my soul cracked as I read of his abuse and abandonment. How harsh and cruel a person has to be to live with the knowledge that they are condemning a little boy. It's incredible how Joe was able to persevere, and in some ways thrive through this (especially in the Great Depression). I began to get attached to all the characters- some weren't even main characters. I liked the way it was written and the fact that it takes place in my home state really helped, but based on my patches of boredom and the struggle it was to read this, I'm giving it 2.5 stars

Jan 12, 2015
  • JWW_O rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A great true story about the 1935 Olympics. I learned much about the state of Washington, rowing and the sacrifices these young men made. It makes one proud to be an American.

Jan 07, 2015
  • pennykoo rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

An excellent book, I felt as though I were watching each race. The stories of the boat building and the impossibly grueling training were fascinating. How much more difficult it was without the modern/hi tech clothing! These men were iron.

Nov 16, 2014
  • Memawrayne rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Absolutely wonderful!! A great, heart-warming story but also very well written. I felt as if I were in the boat as they raced to the finish line. History is woven into the fabric of the personal story of a group of outstanding young men and their coaches who made it to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. It should make any American feel proud and any human being feel appreciative of humans. I have acquired a new respect for rowing teams.

Oct 18, 2014
  • Rainman rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A very inspirational look at survival in a world full of obstacles. Yet it cannot escape the irony and absurdity of celebrated athletic achievement on the precipice of war and the greatest mass murder of all time. To be fair, it is not about the sport, but about personal drive, and trust in others.

Oct 13, 2014
  • paulsarkisian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I was completely pleased and taken by this book. The other glowing reviews of this book are richly deserved. This is a book for anyone how likes a compelling drama, with lots of well-researched historical background. The book is set in the dynamic time of Depression-era America and pre-and early WWII Germany. There is much about the time and place in history that is presented in a fresh and thorough manner. I read the background parts of he book with as much interest and involvement as the exciting competitions. This is a MUST READ!!!

Aug 12, 2014
  • joe_56 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

A nice little story about the crew and their training and deep dedication to each other and the quest for the Gold at the 1936 Olympics. Not much is known about the sport and although the narrative gets a little bogged down in the early months of training (Characterization is essential in understranding whom these boys were but the reader might get a little bored with the repetitiveness of the training procedures and descriptions of the early races. The last few pages describing the Gold Medal race itself is well told and exciting. It would make a good independent movie that would find it's place with the likes of CHARIOTS of FIRE.

Jul 15, 2014
  • odorisan rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Overall, an illuminating narrative.

However, I agree with comments from other readers referring to the length: the book could have been tightened up by eliminating the recounting of repetitive minute details of races leading up to the Olympic finals. Also, at times, the individual characters life stories, and the descriptions of the propagandistic pageantry of the Berlin Olympics seemed to be in competition with each other for the limelight of the book.

Unexpected non-fiction content includes the history of rowing in North America; the craftsmanship of skull building; and the
Grand Coulee Dam construction in Washington.

Jun 19, 2014
  • Edgarmole rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I was very impressed by all the research the author did in order to write the book. I'm really glad he did, as it is an inspiring story. The prose is pedestrian or stereotyped in a lot of places, but the inherent drama and suspense carries the story forward. Interesting too to read about an incident that happened locally.

Jun 13, 2014
  • elag24 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A lovely story about how the underdog overcomes adversity to be on top. This is perfect material for a movie...

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Oct 18, 2014
  • Rainman rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A timeless story of perseverance, of survival in a world full of obstacles. Joe Rantz faced abandonment by his family, putting himself through college, the dust bowl and great depression, and ultimately Hitler's influence in athletic competition. But his biggest obstacle at times was himself. Finally becoming a reliable piece of a cohesive whole, he and his crewmates lifted the Husky Clipper off the surface of the water, to the rafters of Washington's shellhouse, and into history.

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Nov 26, 2014
  • WVMLlibrarianTara rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

“What mattered more than how hard a man rowed was how well everything he did in the boat harmonized with what the other fellows were doing. And a man couldn’t harmonize with his crewmates unless he opened his heart to them. He had to care about his crew.”

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