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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
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Book of the Month > January Book - The Boys in the Boat

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Courtney | 300 comments Mod
Discuss The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown here.

"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."


Courtney | 300 comments Mod
Valerie wrote: ""...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, ..."

Wow, that's a great quote!


Lance (sportsbookguy) I read this twice before - first for my blog on sports books and later for the on-site PV book club (it was my suggestion and the members loved it). Rather than write more, I will post the link to my review here - still accurate about how I feel about this book.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Mary | 63 comments Nicely written Lance. I loved this book and thoroughly enjoyed the slide show and presentation by the author. Catch him if you can!


Lance (sportsbookguy) So did I - I went to his presentation at the Marist Boat House soon after the book was published. Also picked up his other two books.


Courtney | 300 comments Mod
I'm about 1/3 into this book and am honestly enjoying it more than I thought I would. I'm not that into sports books, but Brown's writing style pulls you in. Sometimes when reading historical nonfiction, I find it hard to emphasize with the characters. Brown's writing does a wonderful job of reminding me that these characters were actually people and lived through the events.

(view spoiler)

Lance, your mention of the Marist Boat House reminded me of something else. I'm surprised to see how often Poughkeepsie has been mentioned in the book so far - I had no idea that rowing was so popular around here in the 1930s.


Sheri Vincent | 51 comments Not a typical read for me, but I too am really enjoying it, almost 1/2 through.


Sheri Vincent | 51 comments Finally finished! This is a wonderful, inspirational story. Well written, makes you really feel for the characters. Very motivational. It reminded me of how remarkable the human soul is! Amazing story. Glad it was picked for book club!


message 9: by Courtney (last edited Jan 30, 2018 01:45PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Courtney | 300 comments Mod
I just finished this book and....wow. I got so emotionally invested in this book. During each race description, my heart started pounding and I'd root the crew on in my head. Hats off to Brown for doing some phenomenal storytelling.

This book didn't just increase my anxiety though, it also made me laugh out loud. I love how the crew just wandered over to FDR's house and chatted with his son, and even sat in FDR's favorite chair. The levels of security were so different!

One thing I really liked about Brown's storytelling was how he wove in what was happening in Germany with the story of the crew. I had no idea the 1936 Olympics were basically a propaganda tool for Germany, mostly because I've never really learned much about them. For anyone who is interested, I found this book coming out in February called Berlin 1936: Sixteen Days in August by Oliver Hilmes which discusses that Olympics in detail.

Thanks for recommending this book, Lance! I don't think I would have picked it up on my own and would have missed out on an awesome true story.


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