July 9, 2013

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown



The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Publisher: Viking Press
Publication Date: June 2013
Categories: Nonfiction, United States, Olympics
Source: Viking Press via NetGalley

Description:

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. 

About Daniel James Brown
My Thoughts:

When Daniel James Brown publishes a new book I don't have to think twice about whether or not to read it. I've been enamored of everything of his that I've read and this book was no exception. 

Part of Brown's brilliance lies in his ability to make you care about subjects you thought you had no interest in. This book is about the University of Washington's eight-oar rowing crew from the mid 1930's. Rowing? Yes, rowing. That's a subject I never thought I'd be hankering to read about. By the end of the book I wanted to buy an oar and move to Seattle.

Brown always gets me by focusing on the human side of the story. It doesn't matter that these boys were oarsmen. They could have been making cheese or painting houses. Brown's depiction of their friendship and dedication to one another are what made this book a winner.

These boys were a fantastic group of young men from underprivileged backgrounds working their tails off to be successful. Who wouldn't sign up to read about them?

You definitely should.

48 comments:

  1. Lol I totally just posted a comment on the wrong blog... that's what I get for having like 10 tabs open at once!

    This sounds interesting! I never think to read this sort of stuff, that shows the more human side of big events, and I should. Especially for some young men who defeated Hitler's team in the Olympics! That can only be a good thing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, it happens. I permanently deleted it.

      It was a VERY good thing. I was cheering out loud by the end of this one ;)

      Delete
  2. Never read his stuff. Gonna have to check him out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been WILD about every book of his that I've read. HIGHLY recommended :)

      Delete
  3. LOL- I love this. Because really, who would pick up a book because it's about rowing, other than people who row? You make me want to read ALL THE THINGS!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right!? Seriously, rowing? Brown has a way man, he has a way!

      Muahahaha, that's my job sister!

      Delete
  4. I've never heard of Daniel James Brown, but have an audio review copy of this one. Sounds like I'm in for a treat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really hope you enjoy it JoAnn! I really recommend his other books too.

      Delete
  5. I totally love narrative non-fiction that's well-written, especially like you said when the author can make you care about a topic that you normally would not read about. I'm making a note of this author and this book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Exactly Laura! When an author dips me into a world and makes me care?? Ahhh, that's the best :)

      Delete
  6. After reading the description I was thinking: .... mwah, not for me, this book. But when I read your thoughts on the book, I was thinking: maybe I should give it a try. I'll keep the book/author in mind anyways.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At first blush it really doesn't sound that enthralling does it? LOL, I know! But seriously, it's great!

      Delete
  7. Ok, when you recommended this book on my vacation reads post, I checked it out at B&N the next day and thought it wouldn't be for me...no interest in the topic of a rowing team, lol. But now that I've read your thoughts and they Are the same as mine, it seems I should give it a try. Sticking it on my swap site wish list now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic! I'm super glad to hear it :) You know the moral of this story don't you? YOU SHOULD ALWAYS LISTEN TO ME!! LOL ;)

      Delete
  8. I'm reading this right now. I've read almost all of it, and I'd say what the publisher said in their description's last paragraph. Great story. No fiction can beat a true story like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right! Nonfiction is simply the best :) Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

      Delete
  9. This sounds really good! I've been in the mood for some good non-fiction lately, so I might have to check this one out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His other nonfiction books are excellent too Alison :) You won't be disappointed!

      Delete
  10. Just got this one on audio yesterday as I've been hearing lots of positive things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! I can't wait to hear what you think of it Brooke!

      Delete
  11. Just ordered this for the library. It's getting a lot of buzz lately! I might try it on audio, myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, I'd love to pick your library brain about how you go about decided what to order. I hope you do make time for it, it's a winner!

      Delete
  12. Yep, I definitely think I'd dig this one. I love when a non-fiction writer can take a totally random topic and make it interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a feeling you would really like this one Shannon, it seems like a YOU type of book :)

      Delete
  13. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jennifer. I LOVE rowing (it's my favourite sport to watch during the Summer Olympics) and the men's eights is my favourite rowing event. I think I just might have to check this one out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shut up!! Then you would seriously love this book girl!! :D I hope you do get to this book.

      Delete
  14. A good author is one that gets you interested in a topic that you normally don't care about!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen sister! So true. I've loved his other books and I had a good feeling that I'd like this one too. Tah dah, I did!

      Delete
  15. I'm glad that this was a wonderful read. I read your post on Kim's blog about how you love this author's books and that's made me eager to try this author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear! I hope you do, I'm sure you won't be disappointed :)

      Delete
  16. I've been seeing this one pop up more frequently and earn plenty of praise. I must say, you have me intrigued. I don't know if I need yet another book to add to the pile, but I will definitely be considering it the next time I'm shopping for books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you! Do any of us really NEED another book on our pile? Probably not, lol. But while you're doing your next book buying session you should definitely consider this gem :)

      Delete
  17. I have never read any of Brown's work. I need to start with this one. It sounds so inspiring. It is going on my list right now! Thanks for sharing!
    Happy Reading,
    Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Under a Flaming Sky is fantastic too! (It's about a huge fire that happened in Hinckley, MN) And The Indifferent Stars Above! (About the Donner Party)

      Delete
  18. I've been looking forward to this one, I love rowing (it's one of the few summer Olympic sports I must watch).

    There's something sexy about rowers, which is not why I would read the book, just an added bonus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand! I had a bit of a crush on all of these fellows as I was reading about them :) It takes such focus and determination. A guy like that is swoon-worthy indeed!

      Delete
  19. Sounds good. I haven't read anything by this author yet. I have a copy of this one in audio which I'll be listening to soon.

    ReplyDelete
  20. My favorite non-fiction is always the stuff the does a good job drawing you into the human side of the story. I like facts, but if they're just presented as facts, a book can get dry fast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine too :) Narrative nonfiction is where it's at!

      Delete
  21. It's the rowing that's been making me think twice about this because I haven't a clue about it, but the rest sounds strong enough to overcome that so to speak (and non-fiction has a way of doing that!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know a thing about rowing either, nor did I think I wanted to, lol.

      Delete
  22. It's quite rare for me to label a nonfiction good, i'm glad you found this one to be a good read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a huge fan of nonfiction and this is the best of the best!

      Delete
  23. I love sports stories, this one sounds great! Reading books about "old" Olympics is always interesting because they're so different nowadays. Not the sports included, per se, but the marketing and how the events are delivered to the public.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right! It was a different time for sure. A better time, most would say :)

      Delete
  24. I was reading what you said about reading everything by Daniel James Brown and I realized, I do a really bad job keeping track of non-fiction authors! I think parts of this is just that they're less likely to have another book out and certainly don't often have a sequel scheduled. That means that if I look them up right after reading a book of theirs, there might not be anything else to pick up. And there's nothing to mark on my calendar to look forward to later. That said, I'd still like to do a better job at keeping up-to-date on new non-fiction and at remembering authors I really like :) Do you have a main source for news of new non-fiction releases?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right about that!

      Before I blogged I would check out the new nonfic shelf at my library weekly. Now I just hear about stuff through the blogging grapevine :)

      Delete