Brown masterfully narrates the tale of the 1936 American Olympic rowing team and their gold medal triumph. He paints a vivid picture of the men in the boat, their world, and their sport. A fascinating glimpse into a bygone era. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
For readers of Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit
, 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.
“For those who like adventure stories straight-up, The Boys in the Boat… is this year's closest approximation of Unbroken….It's about the University of Washington's crew team: 'Nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant.” New York Times
“If you imagined a great regatta of books about rowing, then Brown's Boys in the Boat certainly makes the final heat….” Boston Globe
“The astonishing story of the UW's 1936 eight-oar varsity crew and its rise from obscurity to fame.…The individual stories of these young men are almost as compelling as the rise of the team itself. Brown excels at weaving those stories with the larger narrative, all culminating in the 1936 Olympic Games…A story this breathtaking demands an equally compelling author, and Brown does not disappoint. The narrative rises inexorably, with the final 50 pages blurring by with white-knuckled suspense as these all-American underdogs pull off the unimaginable.” The Seattle Times
“Those who enjoy reading about Olympic history or amateur or collegiate sports will savor Brown's superb book.” Library Journal (Starred)
The New York Times–
bestselling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany.
Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.
It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington's eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man's personal quest.
About the Author
Daniel James Brown is the author of two previous nonfiction books, The Indifferent Stars Above and Under a Flaming Sky. He lives outside of Seattle.