The Boys in the Boat

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

Brown, Daniel

(Large Print - 2013)
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Boys in the Boat
"The University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the nine boys, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what beating the odds really meant. They defeated elite rivals from California and eastern schools to earn the right to compete against the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic Games in Berlin. The crew was assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it was their trust in each other that made them a victorious team"--back cover.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine :, Thorndike Press, A part of Gale, Cengage Learning,, 2013
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781410459541
Branch Call Number: LGE-TYPE 797.123 B87761b 2013
Characteristics: 743 pages (large print) :,illustrations ;,23 cm


From Library Staff

Tells the story of the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team and their quest for Olympic gold as Hitler watched in 1936. Almost all the book lovers I know and trust have raved to me about this book.

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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...

Thoroughly recommended story. A classic tale of the underdogs overcoming adversity to become world champions. Nine boys from the backwoods of Washington state overcome domestic poverty, the Great Depression, prejudice and gruelling training conditions to reach the 1936 Berlin Olympics.This is all about the boat, and that means nine young men, not just their hand-crafted 62-foot rowing shell.
The research is extensive, perhaps too much so at times, and the writing can become ponderous at times, but the story will draw you in even if you know nothing about any of the above. This is about character.

Apr 12, 2014
  • MargoBarron rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Wow! One of the best books I have ever read. I knew nothing about the sport of rowing before reading this book and have definitely gained an appreciation for what the sport entails. In addition, all the history and politics of the 1930s included in this book makes it an amazing and interesting read. Most of all it was just heartwarming to learn about the tenacity and character of all those associated with the 1936 Husky Clipper. The Epilogue was wonderful in summing up the boys' lives after the Olympics. I would recommend this book to everyone--it is a wonderful story and so well written.

Apr 07, 2014
  • Markus_10 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Not a rower? Not a sports fan? Don't worry. The Boys in the Boat transcends the sports literature genre. There will certainly be an aspect of this book which will pull you in. There are not enough superlatives to describe how I feel about The Boys in the Boat. Perhaps the least important part of this book is the race described in its subtitle. This book is a personal history of the men who formed the crew, particularly the heartbreaking story of the childhood and adolescence of Joe Rantz. However, Brown gives insights into the lives of Joe's family and fiancee, the other members of his crew, the coaches, some of the competing rowers, the German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda. It is a story of living through the Great Depression in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and its initial reluctance to hosting the 1936 Olympic Games. It is an ode to the poetry and grace of rowing and of people working toward a common, pure goal: the pursuit of that elusive moment when everything works in perfect synchronization and one can almost touch the divine. That Mr. Brown is able to do this in 370 pages without once becoming long-winded or preachy is a rarely accomplished feat. The author seems to have an instinctive grasp of exactly how much detail is enough. The prose is densely packed yet accessible. It dots every i and crosses every t. At times in its poetry and feeling it almost touches the same sense of the divine the rowers seek. It is that rarest of thing in recent American writing, quietly proud of its characters without indulging in jingoistic rah-rah U-S-A! U-S-A! cheerleading. The tone is as modest and unassuming as its protagonists. I don't often cry (not that there's anything wrong with crying, far from it) but I found myself tearing up at the end of this book. The last few pages are genuinely moving in their power, perception, beauty and sensitivity. Do yourself a huge favour and pick up this absolutely riveting read.

Loved. Great feel for Seattle at time of depression.

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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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app16 Version Hasselnot Last updated 2014/12/18 17:24