The Boys in the Boat

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

Brown, Daniel

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Boys in the Boat
Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washingtons 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.

Publisher: New York :, Viking,, [2013]
ISBN: 0143125478
Branch Call Number: 797.123 BROWN
Characteristics: 404 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

#4 most checked-out book for 2014 in Whatcom County (the 2015 Whatcom Reads! selection)

Suzanne says: "There is something about a book that can move you to tears, and make your heart joyful! Boys in the Boat takes you back to a time when you couldn't take anything for granted. This book is one that once you start reading you don't want to put it down."

List - Staff Picks 2013 by: BPLAdultLibrarians Dec 18, 2013

This book has everything: a fast paced plot, a well-described, local and historical setting, interesting characters and one of those fun come-from-behind underdog wins stories - a winning combination! I couldn't put it down. - Georgi

From the critics

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Mar 22, 2015
  • BrigidWilson rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I feel a bit guilty for not gushing over, or even liking, this book more--especially since it's the Whatcom County Reads book this year. I tried twice to read it and once to listen to it before I finally got through it. The story of UW crew and how they came together as a team to get to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin WAS interesting, but I somehow got bogged down in all the extra information in the book.

Mar 11, 2015

I want to cancel this order read the book

Mar 04, 2015
  • LyndaLovelyWright rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the best books I have read. Living in Washington State, Mr. Brown introduced me to historical events that were new to me. Couldn't put it down. Very well written.

Feb 11, 2015
  • jenlou69 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is one of the best books I have ever read. I was there the whole way with these boys. Bravo Daniel for telling this wonderful story.

Jan 31, 2015
  • Digestion14 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Superb, reads like a novel!

Jan 28, 2015
  • Nymeria23 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

The story of the incredible crew from Washington.
The only reason I read this story was for my book group. I tend to steer clear of the non-fiction section altogether. This book was challenging for me, and it took forever just to get ten pages, but I found I really enjoyed it. Though most of the rowing terminology went right over my head and caused me to get bored, I loved Joe Rantz's story and found myself mentally cheering the boys on in their races. I actually cried many and multiple times during the sections on Joe's family life. It was just so heartbreaking and written so well that my soul cracked as I read of his abuse and abandonment. How harsh and cruel a person has to be to live with the knowledge that they are condemning a little boy. It's incredible how Joe was able to persevere, and in some ways thrive through this (especially in the Great Depression). I began to get attached to all the characters- some weren't even main characters. I liked the way it was written and the fact that it takes place in my home state really helped, but based on my patches of boredom and the struggle it was to read this, I'm giving it 2.5 stars

Jan 12, 2015
  • JWW_O rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A great true story about the 1935 Olympics. I learned much about the state of Washington, rowing and the sacrifices these young men made. It makes one proud to be an American.

Jan 07, 2015
  • pennykoo rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

An excellent book, I felt as though I were watching each race. The stories of the boat building and the impossibly grueling training were fascinating. How much more difficult it was without the modern/hi tech clothing! These men were iron.

Nov 16, 2014
  • Memawrayne rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Absolutely wonderful!! A great, heart-warming story but also very well written. I felt as if I were in the boat as they raced to the finish line. History is woven into the fabric of the personal story of a group of outstanding young men and their coaches who made it to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. It should make any American feel proud and any human being feel appreciative of humans. I have acquired a new respect for rowing teams.

Oct 18, 2014
  • Rainman rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A very inspirational look at survival in a world full of obstacles. Yet it cannot escape the irony and absurdity of celebrated athletic achievement on the precipice of war and the greatest mass murder of all time. To be fair, it is not about the sport, but about personal drive, and trust in others.

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Oct 18, 2014
  • Rainman rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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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Nov 26, 2014
  • WVMLlibrarianTara rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

“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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