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The Boys in the Boat:

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

1 reviews 0 5 4.8 4 out of 5 stars 4.8/5
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A #1 New York Times Bestseller

Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

A Los Angeles Times Bestseller

An NPR Bestseller

A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller

Winner of the 2014 Indies Choice Award for Book of the Year: Adult Nonfiction

Selected for the July 2013 Indie Next List

A Publishers Weekly Bestseller

A 2014 ALA Notable Book for Adult Nonfiction

A 2013 BookPage Best Book

A Booklist Top 10 in June 2013

An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2013

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.

Editorial Reviews

“This riveting tale of beating the odds (and the Germans) at the 1936 Olympics is a rousing story of American can-do-ism. It’s also a portrait of the nine boys who first rowed together for the University of Washington and of the one in particular who made the sport his family and his home.”

Parade

“Cogent history… and a surprisingly suspenseful tale of triumph.”

USA Today

“For those who like adventure stories straight up...It’s about the University of Washington’s crew team: ‘Nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant.’”

New York Times

“If you imagined a great regatta of books about rowing, then Brown’s The Boys in the Boat certainly makes the final heat.”

Boston Globe

“This riveting and inspiring saga evokes that of Seabiscuit…Readers need neither background nor interest in competitive rowing to be captivated by this remarkable and beautifully crafted history. Written with the drama of a compelling novel, it's a quintessentially American story that burnishes the esteem in which we embrace what has come to be known as the Greatest Generation.”

Associated Press

“Brown’s book juxtaposes the coming together of the Washington crew team against the Nazis’ preparations for the Games, weaving together a history that feels both intimately personal and weighty in its larger historical implications. This book has already been bought for cinematic development, and it’s easy to see why: When Brown, a Seattle-based nonfiction writer, describes a race, you feel the splash as the oars slice the water, the burning in the young men’s muscles, and the incredible drive that propelled these rowers to glory.”

Smithsonian

“The individual stories of these young men are almost as compelling as the rise of the team itself. Brown excels at weaving those stories with the larger narrative, all culminating in the 1936 Olympic Games…A story this breathtaking demands an equally compelling author, and Brown does not disappoint. The narrative rises inexorably, with the final fifty pages blurring by with white-knuckled suspense as these all-American underdogs pull off the unimaginable.”

Seattle Times

“For this nautical version of Chariots of Fire, Brown crafts an evocative, cinematic prose studded with engrossing explanations of rowing technique and strategy, exciting come-from-behind race scenes, and the requisite hymns to “mystic bands of trust and affection” forged on the water. Brown lays on the aura of embattled national aspiration good and thick, but he makes his heroes’ struggle as fascinating as the best Olympic sagas.”

Publishers Weekly

“A touching, fairly uncomplicated portrayal of rowing legends.”

Kirkus Reviews

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1 out of 1 (100%) recommend this product

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    • 5/5

    Chariots of Fire for Rowing

    Wildfish Howard July 2, 2013
    When they make the movie of this book it will do for rowing what Chariots of Fire did for running. A well-integrated, compelling series of stories about individual and team determination against a textured backdrop encompassing the depression and the coming of World War II. The only risk of listening to this book is that you will feel compelled to get out in one of these boats and embarrass yourself! Anyone with any connections to the Pacific Northwest will especially appreciate the regional detail, although I suspect that WSU grads might take a slightly less enthusiastic view of the University of Washington's 1936 Olympics gold medal crew. It's a terrific story, well-told and highly recommended!
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Author Biography

Daniel James Brown grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Diablo Valley College, the University of California at Berkeley, and UCLA. He taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford before becoming a technical writer and editor. He now writes narrative nonfiction books full time. His primary interest as a writer is in bringing compelling historical events to life vividly and accurately. He and his wife live in the country outside of Seattle, Washington, with an assortment of cats, dogs, chickens, and honeybees.

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Reader Biography

Edward Herrmann (1943–2014) was one of America’s top audiobook narrators. He won multiple Earphones and Audie Awards, and his narration of the King James version of the Bible remains a benchmark in the industry.

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