The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat

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

Book - 2013
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The #1 New York Times -bestselling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany, the inspiration for the PBS documentary The Boys of '36 , broadcast to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 80th anniversary of the boys' gold medal race.

For readers of Unbroken , out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times--the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington's eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys' own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man's personal quest.
Publisher: New York : Viking, c2013.
ISBN: 9780670025817
Characteristics: 404 p. :,ill., port. ;,24 cm.

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PiPhi_1 May 25, 2018

Favorite read, great for book club discussion

l
lrs1107
May 12, 2018

Very good bordering on excellent. A tad bit dry and drawn-out in the Boys' early college years but overall a very enjoyable and enlightening read.

j
jontalk
Apr 23, 2018

In many ways this is a Pulitzer Prize winner given the superior storytelling. We immerse into the world of skull racing which eventually takes us to the Berlin Olympics during the Nazi occupation. While not focused entirely on Joe Rantz, his story inspires by his ability to become mentally tough, find joy and be compassionate while learning the underlying elements of teamwork. Fast paced, illuminating and well crafted, this is a book that opens our eyes, hearts and minds to possibility. Highly recommended!

y
yaseminblock
Apr 09, 2018

Rivetingly written - although one knows about the Olympic success, it is still a page turner

d
daisally
Jan 11, 2018

Amazing book! The writing is so good that I was attracted to keep reading to find out what happened next. Highly recommend!

h
HollyPhoenix
Oct 08, 2017

Fantastic Book! I was so excited-it kept my focus every bit of the way through.

Librarian_Deb Sep 29, 2017

This profile of the nine young men who represented the US in rowing at the 1936 Olympics is so much more than just a sports story. As it digs into the lives of these young men, especially Joe Rantz, the reader gets a vivid picture of life in the Seattle area during the 1930's. Events like the building of the Grand Coulee dam - where Joe works during the summer to earn tuition for college -- become memorable parts of the story, which is of course mostly about rowing. Yet even a non-rowing fan like me got sucked into that aspect of the book as well - as the author gave excellent profiles of Al Ulbrickson, their taciturn coach and George Pocock, the master boat maker. And knowing much about Joe Rantz's backstory which included being practically abandoned by his family when he was young made me want to root for his success. Becoming emotionally involved with the characters helped, but the author also skillfully described the actual races in such a way that the tension was palpable. I was on the edge of my seat - so to speak - wondering if the boys were going to pull of a win and how they were going to do it. When they get to take the trip of a lifetime to the Berlin Olympics more fascinating history is included - such as how the film producer Leni Riefenstahl was heavily involved in filming Hitler's ultimate propaganda piece for the world. I learned so much about history from this book and it made me think about the lessons we can learn from the past. We talked about that a lot when our book group discussed this title and it was one of our most memorable discussions. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history, sports and stories about over coming obstacles.

MVBOOKCLUB Jul 29, 2017

Markham Village April Book Club Selection. So many great areas of history to discuss, wonderful characters, beautifully written.

g
General_Percy
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!

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c
cknightkc
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

c
cknightkc
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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r
Rainman
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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