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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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Previous BRs - Authors; A - D > Brown, Daniel James - The Boys in the Boat - Informal Buddy Read; Start December 7

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message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Oct 25, 2014 09:29AM) (new)

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This topic is open for discussion of The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown



Book Synopsis:
For readers of Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit and Unbroken, 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.


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Margaret (everlastinggrace) | 2360 comments Great....I want to read this one! So count me in.


message 5: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura | 9707 comments I can't wait to read this one too! My copy came in today from the library and I want to start it ...but I have a few others first to read.


Sarah | 3273 comments I am waiting for my copy again, it was a renewal, but the waiting list was huge. I should hopefully have it in a month.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Ohh Sarah. I hope you get it soon. I am eagerly waiting for you to get it and for all of us to begin.


message 8: by Sarah (last edited Nov 10, 2014 07:47PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sarah | 3273 comments I have way too much to read in November. But I hope to be ready to go by the date. I just finished the audio for A Man Called Ove - and I just have to recommend. It was so good.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Sarah wrote: "I have way too much to read in November. But I hope to be ready to go by the date. I just finished the audio for A Man Called Ove - and I just have to recommend. It was so good."

I saw your posts on your group thread and I am totally curious. Have to go and check out whether my local library has it. The book is pretty expensive to buy here in India, so will have to wait till the local library has it or at least till the price drops a little. :(


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments I just started this last night. Did not read much as I am juggling too many books right now! However, I am curious about this one - it starts off really well, so looking forward to an enjoyable read!


message 11: by Sarah (last edited Dec 07, 2014 07:54PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sarah | 3273 comments So I am to page 145. It is amazing how much we get to learn about the sport of rowing and how interesting and fascinating it is - I never thought I would love a book about a row team - but it is so good. Also learning about the spirit of the row team that forms, better because of the drive and determination born from the struggle of the Depression.


Sarah | 3273 comments I have four days before my loan expires on this one so I gotta get it done


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Okay Sarah. Will try and speed up on this. Guess I should be able to do it as it is comparatively small and pretty easy to read.


Margaret (everlastinggrace) | 2360 comments I am #20 on a waiting list :) I just can't find an assessable copy yet....I will join in as soon as I find one.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Margaret - I have another book for you! The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco - Join us please!


Margaret (everlastinggrace) | 2360 comments That one looks good though I suck at reading mysteries, reason is I need one that is character driven rather than relying on plot. When are you planning to do this one? I just put myself on the holds list, I am #2....I might be able to get a copy sooner if you all plan to start soon.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments The BR for this has already started but it is way above our heads considering the amount of theology and Latin that is used in the book. So we are taking it really slow! Join us when you get the book as I am sure we will be slogging through it. However, despite all my above whines, I am told that this is a great book - one that calls for some great discussions. So really hoping for that!


Margaret (everlastinggrace) | 2360 comments Lol....sounds intriguing and scary! well, I'll hop over and take a peek.


Stacey (boydsmom) | 1094 comments I started this a bit last night and seems it will be a great read. Unfortunately I'm trying to read too many books at one time, so I may be a little behind, but will add to the discussion as I get caught up.


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Laura | 9707 comments Will try and start this tonight, if not hopefully tomorrow


Sarah | 3273 comments Just checking in to see how it is going. I bought the book so I am just waiting for others as I finish other books.


Margaret (everlastinggrace) | 2360 comments still waiting for my copy :(


Sarah | 3273 comments Well I am if nothing but behind anyway - I had to pass up some reads.


message 24: by Srividya (last edited Dec 13, 2014 10:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments I am also lagging behind in this as well as others! A little under weather today, so might take it easy! Will start this again by tomorrow, I hope!


message 25: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura | 9707 comments I haven't started yet.. we are all swamped with buddy reads.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Just finished Part 1! It is awesome!

(view spoiler)


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Part 2 Chapter 7 (view spoiler)


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments I have a question - I am not from the US and don't have much knowledge, so am just asking out of curiosity. What is this huge East-West divide/rivalry that is constantly making way in this book? Are the cultures different in the East when compared to the West. Does it exist even today or is it just simply in history or even fiction?

I know a little about how things are different in the North and the South but this is new to me.


message 29: by Sarah (last edited Dec 17, 2014 06:25AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sarah | 3273 comments There is a rivalry I would say and people say the East Coast and the West Coast have different cultures, act a little different. Also in the US there is like the deep South. You can see differences sometimes in different political views - the South seems to still have more racism present I hear. Sometimes there is different religious pockets in the U.S.. Different states will predominantly vote one way or another like Democrat versus Republican and it can represent an overall difference in political views and values and ideas about how money should be allocated and how government should be run. There are places that are more rural or big cities that can create differences. All kinds of differences and cultures and religions and political views exist. I don't know if this helps. Plus there is a rivalry among schools and sports.


Sarah | 3273 comments I am so glad you are enjoying learning about the sport as much as I am. Also the history. I think this book is a great account and accurate portrayal of living during the Depression in the U.S., especially in this area - Seattle, Washington.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Thanks Sarah. It sure does help. I can see the rivalry among schools and sports in this book. Do money or education play a role in setting these differences even today? For instance, in this book, they call the people of the East as coming from old money and having all things good while those of the West are purportedly sons of farmers or lumberjacks, where money has been scarce and education lesser. Does that difference exist today as it apparently did during the older times or is it more historical again? Sorry to bombard you with questions - but this book is making me really curious.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments I am really enjoying learning both about the sport as well as the history of that period. It is fascinating, especially given that I don't have much knowledge about either!


Sarah | 3273 comments Yes, I would say some of that exists today, but there is so much more development and mobility among people. I also feel like the East Coast has more Private schools = money - and can be more elitist. I live in Oregon - and all though there is a very liberal Portland - the city and holding a larger population of the Oregon residents, there is also a lot of rural areas with logging and farming and such - you tend to see differences in political views, but overall the culture of Portland and political views carry Oregon in elections due to the majority of the populous being more concentrated in the city area.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Hmm interesting. Thanks once again Sarah.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Started Part 3 Chap 9 (view spoiler)


Margaret (everlastinggrace) | 2360 comments you guys are killing me! I can't wait to join in with the discussion. I am now #5 on the list to get this book with 13 copies! So I should be able to get it soon.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Sorry Margaret. I am reading it for another challenge and therefore am plowing through it at a really fast speed! Just jotting down thoughts as I am reading so that I don't forget. :)


message 38: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura | 9707 comments Hoping to get to read this book on the weekend!


Sarah | 3273 comments Well I am behind too - I also want to stop to read Still Alice real quick - I hope. Pulling out my hair.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments I finished! And now I will be a good girl and wait for all you ladies to finish. Mum's the word for now! ;)


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Sarah - I also want to read Still Alice!! Hmm maybe I will get to it after I read a few other pending ones! Have you started it?


Sarah | 3273 comments No - if you do it with me, I will finish this one first. I think. OMG I am so behind - I don't even know anymore. I still want to read The Bell Jar too. I feel like there is another book I have to read before it is goes back to the library in 7 days.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Okay. Will wait for you to start Still Alice and The Bell Jar. We shall do both together as I also have quite a lot of reads on my plate right now. Let me know when to start and I will squeeze it in at that time.

I am also lagging behind in a few. Will read those and I also have some books that I need to return to the library soon, will finish those as well in between.


Sarah | 3273 comments Girl - I don't know how you do it. But I would love to read both with you. I will keep you updated. I have Broken Harbor due back in 8 days, but I think I might just have to forego this one... for now.


Sarah | 3273 comments I can't believe you already finished this book. I went ahead and bought it on Amazon kindle - it was only 3 dollars.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Hahaha I read it last night when everyone was asleep.. as a result I am sleepy right now and have a massive headache! Lol..but I had to finish it!


Sarah | 3273 comments Well I just got off work - a four hour shift in the Emergency Department at the hospital - I am an ED nurse. And I have to be back at work for a twelve hour shift in 7 hours, but it will be over time pay because it is a double back - going back to work within 8 hours of a previous shift. No reading until tomorrow night - if I don't pass out first.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Oh that's a really gruesome schedule. I work from home mostly, which makes it easy for me to read in between. And right now am on a sabbatical from work because of my daughter's health, so I do have more time to read, especially at night, when she's asleep.

Take your time. And yes go to sleep first before you read!

I might just have to read this one again as I did rush through it the first time.


message 49: by Sarah (last edited Dec 18, 2014 12:23AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sarah | 3273 comments Well 12 hour shifts are long... but I only work two per week, then will pick up extra, like I did tonight and made it so I am actually getting overtime for my shift tomorrow. So I only worked four extra hours of an on call shift, will get paid for double back - so I will get paid for eight hours extra for it. Then I have a three day weekend - but also got to get ready for Christmas. O.K. goodnight.


Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Okay. That sounds profitable. :)

Good night :)


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