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

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067002581X
  • ISBN-13: 17
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • #14 in Boating (Books)

Review Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat is the kind of
nonfiction book that reads like a novel. Centered around the life of Joe
Rantz—a farmboy from the Pacific Northwest who was literally abandoned as a
child—and set during the Great Depression, The Boys in the Boat is a
character-driven story with a natural crescendo that will have you racing to
the finish. In 1936, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team raced
its way to the Berlin Olympics for an opportunity to challenge the greatest in
the world. How this team, largely composed of rowers from “foggy coastal
villages, damp dairy farms, and smoky lumber towns all over the state,”
managed to work together and sacrifice toward their goal of defeating Hitler’s
feared racers is half the story. The other half is equally fascinating, as
Brown seamlessly weaves in the story of crew itself. This is fast-paced and
emotional nonfiction about determination, bonds built by teamwork, and what it
takes to achieve glory. —Chris Schluep Read more From Booklist Starred
Review If Jesse Owens is rightfully the most famous American athlete of the
1936 Berlin Olympics, repudiating Adolf Hitler’s notion of white supremacy by
winning gold in four events, the gold-medal-winning effort by the eight-man
rowing team from the University of Washington remains a remarkable story. It
encompasses the convergence of transcendent British boatmaker George Pocock;
the quiet yet deadly effective UW men’s varsity coach, Al Ulbrickson; and an
unlikely gaggle of young rowers who would shine as freshmen, then grow up
together, a rough-and-tumble bunch, writes Brown, not very worldly, but
earnest and used to hard work. Brown (Under a Flaming Sky, 2006) takes enough
time to profile the principals in this story while using the 1936 games and
Hitler’s heavy financial and political investment in them to pull the
narrative along. In doing so, he offers a vivid picture of the socioeconomic
landscape of 1930s America (brutal), the relentlessly demanding effort
required of an Olympic-level rower, the exquisite brainpower and materials
that go into making a first-rate boat, and the wiles of a coach who somehow
found a way to, first, beat archrival University of California, then conquer a
national field of qualifiers, and finally, defeat the best rowing teams in the
world. A book that informs as it inspires. –Alan Moores Read more See all
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