The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics The Boys in the Boat discussion


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Good Reads Review

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message 1: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Kesselhaut The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is a captivating nonfiction novel describing the journey of the University of Washington's rowing team in 1936. Made up of eight remarkable oarsmen and one exceptional coxswain, the nine boys transform the world’s understanding of what it takes to be on a rowing team. Throughout their experience at Washington, they learned to trust those around them and to accept that each individual on his own was weaker than the team as a whole. One cannot row competitively, they believed, in a shell with eight others rowing at the same time without an extraordinary amount of collaboration and sportsmanship.
The heart of the story lies with Joe Rantz, whose emotional and physical growth from a poor boy with no prospects to an Olympic athlete with a sense of belonging helps bring the novel full circle. An opportunity that brought success and happiness, rowing brought Rantz and the crew together, forming an unbreakable bond between the boys that would last for years to come.
Set during the turmoil of the Great Depression as well as during the faraway threat of Nazi Germany, the boys prove themselves extremely resilient and resourceful. Plowing through their hardships and struggles together, the team learns that nothing worth accomplishing is completed without enduring the pain that comes with it. With this mindset, the team was able to defeat their eastern and British rivals, then take on Hitler's elite rowing crew at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
The Boys in the Boat is one of the most inspirational and most compelling novels ever written. From the imperturbable coach, Al Ulbrickson, to the ominous rise of Adolf Hitler and of the Great Depression, Brown seamlessly weaves together the exciting suspense of the boys’ races against the invidious propaganda of Germany so that even the most reluctant reader will not lose interest. With quotes from world-famous boat maker George Pocock, the book tells not only a story of endurance and trust, but also a story of joy, of something concrete to last through the ages. Pocock called rowing “a symphony of motion”, and perhaps there is no greater music on water than The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.


Betsy Hetzel This was my favorite book of 2015 .


Jeff I thought this was a revealing look at how how Hitler and Goebbels fooled the world at the time, and Brown's portrayal of the scene is complemented by the movie "Race" about Jesse Owens. Also, I found myself feeling surprisingly sad for the loss of so many ancient trees in the American Northwest for the purpose of building boats--not for practical use, but for sport. Still, a great read about a challenging sport.


message 4: by Beth (new) - added it

Beth Green I have a daughter that rowed for a division I program and the statistics about energy consumption as well as all of the information about the sport in general is very accurate. She played many sports through the years but this one was the most grueling.

A great read!


Mary The story is known and the people real: nonfiction, right? But what a boring read!!! This has been compared to Unbroken. Unbroken is captivating. It propels you to read even when it's horrific. Boys in the Boat is an inspirational story but between big events it was boring and skipable. I think I'm in a minority feeling this way, though.


Laura Trombley Both stories are known, I felt just as captivated by Unbroken as the Boys in the Boat. Unbroken was more horrific to be sure and the consequences more dire, but the spirit was the same.


Toni Chanakas This book was definitely one of my favorites as well. I rowed on a recreational league and it was very descriptive and I could just feel the "burn" while I read.


Josh Mary wrote: "The story is known and the people real: nonfiction, right? But what a boring read!!! This has been compared to Unbroken. Unbroken is captivating. It propels you to read even when it's horrific. Boy..."

Now I originally felt the book was boring like Mary and I am not a rower in any sense at all. I came into reading Boys In The Boat without any knowledge whatsoever of the story or anything about rowing at all so I didn't have very high hopes for it. I almost gave up it was so dry at the beginning but then about a third of the way through, it really picked up and drew me in. I couldn't put it down from that point on! Highly recommended! Great read.


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