The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat

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

Large Print - 2013
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"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

Meet special guest Pasha Spencer of University of Portland Rowing and join the discussion on October 18, 2016. Out of the depths of the Depression comes a story from the Great Northwest. This is the amazing account of how nine working-class boys showed the world, at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, w... Read More »

The story of how a group of working class youths from the University of Washington rowing team emerged from obscurity to defeat a field of elite international rivals at the 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.

Rowing has an elite reputation, but in the 1930’s the University of Washington team was made up of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers. They became the best rowing team in America, beating out Ivy League rivals to go to the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin and win a gold medal.

I loved this book! A once in a lifetime dream shared by these 9 boys from small town, working class America.

From the critics

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Jun 25, 2017

The Boys in the boat is the one of most thrilling books I've ever read. This book shows the life of a sports players are and also shows the 1932 ~ 1936 times. This book is my Top red 40 books choice.

JCLCassandraG Jun 15, 2017

A uniquely compelling story, even if it's the farthest thing away from your usual interests. If you're having trouble getting into this one, I recommend diving a few chapters in and then going back to get your bearings after you're sucked in. Certain threads held my attention more than others and I was much more willing to hear the specific details about the boats and crews once I knew who would be in them!

May 13, 2017

An exceptional book. Well written. It captured my attention from the first page. I could not put it down. I felt like I knew these men, and I do not row. Beautiful detailed view of Seattle, the country and the world during this era. I came away with a new understanding.

Jan 02, 2017

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT is the inspiring true account of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team from the University of Washington who overcame adversity and achieved the improbable through perseverance, sacrifice, and teamwork. As the story progresses, while the group as a whole finds its “swing”, so do it’s individual members find themselves, in particular Joe Rantz, the central character of the story. Having known nothing about crew (competitive rowing) before reading this, I gained insight and appreciation for what it takes to excel in this sport. Set during the dark days of America’s Great Depression and Germany’s rise of Nazi power, THE BOYS IN THE BOAT is the perfect blend of human interest, history, and sport. What a terrific book! I hope one day it’ll be translated to the big screen.

AL_MARCIA Dec 28, 2016

This is a fantastic story about several young men from the University of Washington striving to be the best they can be. They eventually reach the Olympics in Germany under the watch eye of Adolf Hilter. It's a great demonstration of drive and perseverance.

Nov 08, 2016

This is a beautifully written nonfiction book that portrays the life of Joe Rantz and his olympic rowing team. The promotional zero to hero story is a page turner and I highly enjoyed it.

Sep 10, 2016

Great story about the 1936 Olympics, the Depression, rowing, finding ones self and what's important in life.

Aug 15, 2016

An amazing story about an amazing group of men. A really fun and interesting read for a sports fan, native northwesterner, UW graduate - anyone with ties to the Seattle area. The write does a great job of incorporating details about what life was like in WA state and the Seattle area during the 20's and 30's.

Jul 06, 2016

This book was beautifully written, many stories within one story. The stories inform about crew/rowing, about the craftsman who make the shells and other equipment, Seattle, and what lives were like during The Great Depression as well as the Nazi era before WW II. The individual lives of the men in the boat are the most fascinating part of the story.

Jun 30, 2016

If you are a Seahawks fan, I insist you read this book to discover the original sports team that brought the city of Seattle fame and glory. I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I needed to throw my two-bits of praise on top of the heaps of accolades The Boys in the Boat has received. This book makes history effortlessly palatable, and exciting to read!

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Jan 02, 2017

“It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down,” he told his daughter, Marilynn. “What matters is how many times you get up.” - page 233

Jan 02, 2017

"To defeat an adversary who was your equal, maybe even your superior, it wasn't necessarily enough just to give your all from start to finish. You had to master your opponent mentally. When the critical moment in a close race was upon you, you had to know something he did not - that down in your core you still had something in reserve, something you had not yet shown, something that once revealed would make him doubt himself, make him falter just when it counted the most. Like so much in life, crew was partly about confidence, partly about knowing your heart." - page 106

WVMLlibrarianTara Nov 26, 2014

“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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Oct 18, 2014

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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