The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown

boys in the boat

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15 Responses to “The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown”

  1. Skye D. Says:

    Summary: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is the story of Joe Rantz and rowing team at the University of Washington. It starts out as changing every chapter. The first chapter was from the point of view of the team coach and the next is about Joe Rantz’s life. This book represents the Depression era, from Joe being a very poor boy and early on having to fend for himself with finding his own food and his own money. The story went through regular situations that every kid goes through. He had to deal with romance, friends, and also school and his sport. Rowing was his life long dream and he had an incredible amount of determination to make it happen. The coaches also had to try to continue to make the men trained and ready during the season while the Nazi attacks were starting to happen. In the end it showed how much it paid off for going after what he wanted even how hard it was with all of the other issues happening at that time including the Depression and Nazis.

    Evaluation: At first I didn’t really enjoy the book. It seemed drawn out and dry. After getting into the book, I realized that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was. It has a great story with parts of our history past included as well. It gave a great story with Joe being such a poor and small boy and eventually getting to be on the rowing team just as he wanted. He struggled a lot through the story and so did everyone else. The book was over all entertaining and I would recommend it to someone else.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Recommendations: An Abundance of Katherines, Would You Rather, The Harry Potter Series, 1984, Northanger Abbey

  2. Ty V. Says:

    Summary: The Boys in the Boat is the story of Joe Rantz and the University of Washington rowing team that battled through adversity both personally and as a team to win the 1936 Olympics. The story mainly focuses on Joe Rantz, for he is the one being interviewed to write the story. He had an extremely rough childhood, being abandoned by his family and forced to make it on his own. With the skills that he learns, he makes enough money to put himself through college even if it means working hard and dangerous jobs. The University of Washington’s rowing team goes through many changes and surprises with the help of their world class coach, and quickly becomes one of the best teams in the country. When they are offered a spot in the 1936 Olympics, they are met with the problem that they need to raise a huge amount of money that the under-dog team just doesn’t have. They have to have a massive fundraiser, but against all odds, they make the money, and they’re off to Germany to compete for the gold medal. Of course, against all odds, they pull it off, and it goes down as one of the greatest stories in American sports history.

    Evaluation: Going into this book, I knew that half of my US History class was reading it, and the other half had probably already read it. I knew that it was immensely popular, so it had to be pretty good. What really surprised me was how well Joe’s story was mixed in with the story of the team, and the description of history. Brown does a brilliant job of jumping from Joe’s struggles, to the team’s struggles, to the struggles that all Americans were having during the depression. The book is well written, and ever section seems determined to prove how truly inspiring the story is from every angle. I am glad that I read this book, because everyone can learn something from it, whether it’s about writing or perseverance.

    Rating: 4.5 stars.

    Recommendations: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
    Into the Wild

    Grapes of Wrath

  3. Lauren S. Says:

    Summary:
    The Boys in the Boat was based in 1933 where a young man named Joe Rantz enters the University of Washington and tries out for the rowing team. Joe, who has grown up in poverty, hopes that a spot on the rowing team will keep him in school and give him a chance to prove that he belongs at Washington. Despite punishing workouts in freezing weather, Joe makes it past several cuts to the freshman boat. At the first race against Washington’s rivals, Cal Berkeley, though the JV and varsity boats fail to win, the freshman boat exceeds all expectations, setting new records. The freshman boat performs similarly well at the Poughkeepsie Regatta in New York, and Ulbrickson begins to see that he has some talented rowers he can cultivate for the upcoming Olympics. The following year, Ulbrickson makes serious changes to the lineup, shifting the talented sophomores to the varsity boat. However, Joe and his boat mates struggle in their new position, and Ulbrickson eventually rescinds his decision. Meanwhile, Joe struggles in his personal life. Though he is deeply in love with his childhood sweetheart, Joyce, his father and stepmother, who abandoned him as a child, still shut him out their lives. The varsity boat suffers a series of defeats. When Joe is coached by George Pocock, Washington’s master boat maker, he sets aside his hard exterior and finally connects with his teammates; they finally work with them for a common goal. Joe finds himself in the first varsity boat again as the rowing team heads first to the Poughkeepsie Regatta, then the Princeton Olympic trials. Washington wins both, and so Joe and his teammates travel to Berlin to represent America in the Olympics. The boys explore Berlin and take subtle stands against Hitler and the Nazi party.
    On the day of the Olympic race, the American team is at a serious disadvantage. They have been placed in the worst lane, the weather is poor, and one of their team members, Don Home, is seriously ill. Nevertheless, they step into the boat as a team. Despite a difficult start because of tricks played by the German officials, Joe and his teammates come from behind, pulling ahead of Germany at the last second and winning the gold medal. They return home. Joe graduates from Washington, marries Joyce, and raises a family. He and his teammates get together for informal and formal reunions until one by one, they all pass away. Their story is still told, however, to each new group of freshman rowers at the University of Washington.

    Evaluation:
    This book was very interesting and educating. It provides important American history and it made me feel more connected to the characters due to the fact that it was based at UW. I didn’t know much about rowing before reading this, but know I recognize how great of a sport it is. It was definitely worth the read.

  4. Elizabeth M. Says:

    Summary:
    The story follows the UW rowing team on their journey to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The story focuses on the life of Joe Rantz and his journey specifically, though it does show brief glimpses into the lives of some of the other boys as well as occasional updates on what Adolf Hitler was doing in Berlin at the time. It tells the story of how Joe was repeatedly kicked out by his step-mother and finally abandoned by his family when he was a teen at their half-finished house in Sequim, Washington. From there he struggles to survive by himself and learns to be self-sufficient. After graduating, he and his girlfriend, Joyce, move to Seattle where he attends UW and works to pay for it. There he goes out for the rowing team and after months of grueling training, he is assigned to one of the freshman boats. He works with his new crew-mates throughout the whole rest of the year. Joe’s freshman boat is an interesting one to look at because on some days they would row perfectly and nothing could stop them while on others they looked like it was their first time on the water. The crew stayed together both Joe’s freshman and sophomore year and won both freshman races and the raced and won the varsity race against California, Also they won the junior varsity race at Poughkeepsie. But in junior year things start changing on the team. The varsity crew that year would be the one going to the Olympic trials that summer and might even go to Berlin. The first part of the year the boys were all assigned different boats every day and the crews were constantly mixed while trying to find the best one. Eventually, there seemed to be one boat that was constantly beating the others. Yet, Joe was not on it. Then one day he was and the boat started flying across the water even faster. They continued to train together and then race together. They won both varsity races and whispers were starting that they were the ones to beat for the Olympic trials. Yet no one accomplished that task and the UW crew with Joe Rantz went onto Berlin. There they competed against the other teams in the Semifinals and won before going on, to race in the final race. This was the hardest race of their lives, Their strongest rower had a fever yet was racing anyway, and they had somehow ended up in the outermost and worst lane, while Germany got the innermost and best even though The US team should have been given the best one. Partway through the race, the sick crewman collapsed temporarily and they were fighting against the wind and waves. Yet they gave more than they had ever given and rowed faster than they had ever rowed, winning the Olympic gold by six-tenths of a second. The next year when Joe Rantz and several other members of the Olympic crew graduated they remained undefeated in their entire college career. Joe married Joyce hours after his graduation and they shared a full life together before she passed away.

    Evaluation:
    I actually first picked this book up two years ago but I only got to the first page before I got busy and quit. I have wanted to read it ever since and now that I have I cannot recommend it enough. It was very well written telling the story of these boys in a way that made then reader connected to the characters, yet kept the story real. It did not sound like it was made up of that it was simply based on fact. I actually felt that I was standing there with the boys ready to race for the Olympic gold. though the book itself was very good, one of my favorite parts was having the story take place in Seattle because I saw references to places I have visited and I was happy that one of the boys was from Bellingham and that the town donated $50 for them to go to the Olympics.

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

    Recommendation:
    I would like to recommend the book Kaffir Boy because it is also a nonfiction story about a boy trying to find his way in a world that was against him.

  5. Cade B. Says:

    Summary:
    “The Boys In the Boat” is a book that details the trials and tribulations of the men on the University of Washington rowing team as they deal with setbacks, successes, and and their performance on the world stage at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. The book is mostly focused on Joe Rantz, a man who grew up mostly on his own or with little outside help in the Pacific Northwest. Readers follow Joe as he grows up as well as gain historical context when Daniel James Brown switches perspectives between people like George Yeoman Pocock, a British boat builder who worked for the University of Washington, Royal Brougham, a sports editor for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s minister and Head of Propaganda. The book builds up the enormity of the tasks the Husky rowers face the more you read, from simply learning how to properly row to facing the best crews from the strongest nations on Earth at the Olympics.

    Evaluation:
    This book was flat out amazing. Although, when I first started reading, I didn’t think that that. Well before the school year started, I had watched the documentary on TV of “The Boys In The Boat” so I knew the ending already. I loved the documentary but was unsure I would feel the same once I sat down to start reading. But, to my great surprise, I found myself completely engrossed in the story, even more so than when I watched it on TV. The writing style of Brown and the way he wove together the perspectives from Americans and Germans created a suspenseful story due to the fact that the readers learn things that certain people don’t learn until later. This combined with the connection I have with the setting of the majority of the story made for an exciting read, to say the least. By the end, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of patriotism for my country but more specifically for my region here in the Pacific Northwest. It got me thinking “if all those guys came from around here and began with much less than what I began with and they were able to achieve greatness, what can I accomplish”?

    Rating:
    4.5 / 5 Stars

    Recommendations:
    Unbroken, Into Thin Air, Seabiscuit: An American Legend

  6. Kamryn C. Says:

    Summary:
    Daniel James Brown’s novel, The Boys in the Boat, is set in the midst of the Great Depression. The novel details the life of the main character, Joe Rantz, a man whose life has been full of many diverse obstacles. As a young child, Joe was abandoned and left to fend for himself during, arguably the worst times in American history. Joe finds triumph while rowing with the University of Washington’s 8-oared crew, which ultimately becomes the team representing the United States in the 1936 Olympic Games taking place in Berlin. At these highly competitive Olympics, the Americans were able to narrowly beat out the Italians and Germans, winning the gold medal.
    The Boys in the Boat details two main stories, the first being the story of the men in the boat, and the second is the story of the games and Hitler’s planning for them. The first displays the lives of all nine members of the University of Washington crew. All of these men had similar backgrounds and faced similar challenges. They all came from lower middle class families and struggled their way through school throughout the midst of the Great Depression. However, it is only Joe Rantz’s youth that is fully explored. Brown details Joe’s life after the death of his mother when he was very young. The solidarity of Joe’s family is destroyed after the death of his mother. As Joe’s father grapples with the unfortunate death of his wife, Joe is tossed around and is offered no stability. At the young age of seven Joe is sent to work and live life on his own. Although his father brings Joe back to live with his family periodically, he must learn to live independently, completely relying on himself by the age of thirteen. After years of facing adversity, Joe’s hard work earns his a seat on the highly competitive varsity boat at the University of Washington. Brown tells of the challenges that Joe’s crew faced, chronicling their bittersweet victories and defeats. The second story embedded within the novel is Hitler’s elaborate planning and obsession with providing a vision of perfection at these 1936 Olympics, and especially showing the world that Germany is a perfect country. Hitler spares no expense throughout the architecture of these games, synthesizing his dreams of perfection for the venues of the games. Brown also describes the efforts taken by Hitler to conceal the actions of the Nazi army and their inhumane treatment of innocent Jews during the Olympics. During the crew race, Hitler intentionally sabotages the United States by placing them in the worst lane, threatening their chances at winning the gold medal. However, the American boat overcomes the obstacle of being in the worst lane during the regatta and win the gold medal! This book teaches readers that with hard work and persistence you can achieve your goals and overcome anything!

    Evaluation:
    I decided to read this book after both my sister and mother read it. I was involved with Whatcom Rowing Association, thus the book peaked my interested because of my love for crew. This is a fabulous book, with its growing popularity helping to expose a sport that is very unknown in our country. This book will always be a favorite of mine, even though it was slow at times it still is an amazingly well written novel! I believe that this book will stay popular for years to come and will become a new American classic!

    Rating:
    I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars!

    Recommendations:
    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    •The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
    These are both very good books!!

  7. Jackson Says:

    Summary:
    This book is the story of the Udub rowing team that pushed through great adversity to represent America in the 1936 Berlin summer Olympics. This story primarily focuses on Joe Rantz’s life, Joe had a particularly tough childhood. At the age of four his mother died leaving his dad to take care of him (which he wasn’t much good at). At one point Joe had had enough and decided to go out and fend for himself as a 10 year old, along the way his father popped in and out but Joe lived mainly alone. At the age of 17 Joe met the UW rowing coach who encouraged him to apply for UW. When Joe went out for rowing the pressure and difficulty was nearly too much, but he persevered which made him and the other 7 boys that made the freshman boat the perfect candidates for competition. They all rowed well together and made such a good team that by the time they made it to senior year they had qualified to represent the US for their sport in the Olympics.

    Evaluation:
    This book felt quite slow towards the beginning, but once I got past the history of Joe and the boys and actually got to the part of the story about the rowing it seemed to speed up and really get quite interesting. Even though we know the outcome you still feel yourself cheering the boys on when they race as if you didn’t know if they would win or not! This book does an excellent job of drawing the reader in and making him/her aware of the struggles and heartaches of each character. You can feel each stroke of the oar as it passes through the water when they are racing in Poughkeepsie or even just practicing. I really enjoyed this book even though it seemed to start a little slow.

    Rating: 4.5 stars

    Recommendations:
    Seabiscuit, The Natural, Swimming to Antarctica, Grayson, The Cay

  8. Emma M. Says:

    Summary: The Boys in the Boat is about a male rowing team at the University of Washington that competes in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, during World War Two. The beginning of the book describes a specific man’s past and story, Joe Rantz. Joe comes from a poor background, starting with his mothers death and eventually his father leaving him to fend for himself at a very young age due to a snooty young wife. Joe gets by, and meets a girl named Joyce who supports him throughout his daily life. Joe eventually finds himself on Washington’s rowing team despite being surrounded by students far wealthier and more talented than him. His placement is due to his hardworking attitude and mindset, which makes him stronger and more determined than other students who have hardly had to work their whole lives. Together the team works under coach Alvin Ulbrickson to defeat difficult West Coast teams, like Cal, and East Coast teams as well. The team also eventually beats Germany and Italy in the Olympics, despite Germany’s attempt to cheat by making sure their team was placed in less difficult lanes. During this time, Hitler was taking many precautions to cover up the horrors that were occurring in his country, making sure the visitors and athletes did not see anything related to the Holocaust. The book also talks about the strategies of rowing, such as how every rower needs to row at the exact same pace and angle, or else the boat could tip over or get off course, which helps the reader understand the races and competitions a bit better.

    Evaluation: I thought this book was very engaging, and gave a good insight into a historical event. Even though it was a bit slow and wordy in some parts, the book still kept my attention. The plot also jumped around a lot, talking about different people in each chapter and eventually jumping back to another person in a later chapter. This made the book interesting, but also hard to follow sometimes. It was also an inspiring story, describing how hard work and determination can get you places if you really want them, and that nothing is truly impossible. I also like how it gave insight into Hitler, and what he was doing at that time despite his attempts to make himself seem friendly and innocent. Overall a very good book!

    Rating: 4 stars

    Recommendations: Unbroken, Angela’s Ashes, The Grapes of Wrath

  9. Jack C. Says:

    Summary:
    This book is the story of the Udub rowing team that pushed through great adversity to represent America in the 1936 Berlin summer Olympics. This story primarily focuses on Joe Rantz’s life, Joe had a particularly tough childhood. At the age of four his mother died leaving his dad to take care of him (which he wasn’t much good at). At one point Joe had had enough and decided to go out and fend for himself as a 10 year old, along the way his father popped in and out but Joe lived mainly alone. At the age of 17 Joe met the UW rowing coach who encouraged him to apply for UW. When Joe went out for rowing the pressure and difficulty was nearly too much, but he persevered which made him and the other 7 boys that made the freshman boat the perfect candidates for competition. They all rowed well together and made such a good team that by the time they made it to senior year they had qualified to represent the US for their sport in the Olympics.

    Evaluation:
    This book felt quite slow towards the beginning, but once I got past the history of Joe and the boys and actually got to the part of the story about the rowing it seemed to speed up and really get quite interesting. Even though we know the outcome you still feel yourself cheering the boys on when they race as if you didn’t know if they would win or not! This book does an excellent job of drawing the reader in and making him/her aware of the struggles and heartaches of each character. You can feel each stroke of the oar as it passes through the water when they are racing in Poughkeepsie or even just practicing. I really enjoyed this book even though it seemed to start a little slow.

    Rating: 4.5 stars

    Recommendations:
    Seabiscuit, The Natural, Swimming to Antarctica, Grayson, The Cay

  10. Kylie C. Says:

    Summary:
    Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat is the kind of non-fiction book that reads like a novel. Set in the Great Depression, it is centered around a gentleman named Joe Rantz, a farmboy who was literally abandoned as child, and the University of Washington’s 8-oared crew which ultimately represented the United States in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, narrowly beating out Italy and Germany to win the Gold Medal.
    There are 2 backstories. The first of which showcases that all 9 members of the Washington team came from lower middle class families and had to struggle to earn their way through school during the depths of the Depression. The focus is on Joe Rantz’s life struggle after his mother passes away at an early age. Joe’s sense of family strong-hold is completely uprooted upon her death and he ends up being bounced around as his father grapples with his wife’s death. At age seven he is sent to work and live on his own. His father brings him back to the family on and off but he must learn to live solo, and completely provide for himself, at age 13. Joe’s hardworking way ultimately earns him a spot on the coveted U of W boat. The author details the challenges each member faced. Along with the chronicle of their victories and defeats in US competition, the reader learns the importance of synchronization of the 8 rowers as they respond to the commands of the coxswain, consistent pacing, and sprint to the finish so that all team members are left completely exhausted and in pain at the end of a competitive race.
    The second backstory begins with a depiction of Hitler undergoing his elaborate plans to create a false sense of beauty and ease for their anticipated Olympic guests. Hilter spared no expense for the luxurious German venues at which the Games would take place. Along the way the book also explains how the Nazis successfully covered up the evidence of their harsh and inhumane treatment of the Jews so as to win worldwide applause for the 1936 Olympic Games, duping the American Olympic Committee among others.
    It all comes together with a detailed description of the final race and how Hilter purposefully tried to sabotage the US’s chances at a Gold medal by placing German and Italy in the easier lanes. A crucial US rower came down ill and rowed on auto-pilot to victory. During the 1930’s, rowing was a popular sport with millions following the action on the radio, much like football on TV today and the victorious Olympians became national heroes. Throughout, the story weaves grit, determination, strong bonds and pride built by teamwork.

    Evaluation: This book was written very well and has a lot of information. I had a hard time starting it but after the second chapter I was hooked. It is a great example of working hard for your goals and never giving up. It is a must read!!

    Rating: I give it a 4 out of 5 stars

  11. Chloe C. Says:

    The Boys in the Boat, set in the year 1936, tells of the story of the University of Washington Boys Rowing Team that won the Berlin Olympics. This story describes the personal experiences of the nine boys and their coaches throughout this incredible experience. This book takes place during the early years of the Great Depression and the reader is able to get an inside look on all the hardships and situations these boys had to endure. All of these topics surrounding the event of the Berlin Olympics all ties together well the story that they created. The cool thing about this book is that the author had personal insight onto the characters from this book and knew them in real life as they lived this experience.

    If someone had told me I would become intrigued about a book having to do with rowing, I would have thought they were crazy. First, I know a little about rowing, but not much of a desire for this subject. But, I did pick this book because I heard from others that it was a good story and kept the reader interested. And I am so glad I did! An awesome balance of human interest, history and sport.

    I rate it: 4 stars

    I recommend: Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

  12. Thomas G. Says:

    Summary:
    James Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat” explores the true, heartfelt struggle of the University of Washington’s own rowing team as they approach the 1936 Berlin Olympics, eventually winning Gold in the event. At the time of their rigorous training and intense competitive racing with other colleges across the United States during the years before the games, Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party rise to power in Germany, bringing an alternate perspective to the story as it is told. One crew member in particular, Joe Rantz, is studied closely throughout the story, as it is his life out of any other of the team’s which has been hit the hardest throughout not only the Great Depression, but childhood as well. We follow his progression from childhood into adolescence, and then into adulthood, where we learn the true nature of his home life growing up and living without a mother. Joe and his crewmates soon come to find themselves facing Europe’s best rowers, ready to defeat them at whatever cost necessary.

    Evaluation:
    After constantly nagging me to pick up a book during my time working for them, my grandparents soon realized it was practically hopeless trying to get me away from my guitar and into a good piece of literature. They did, however, express certain interest in me taking back “The Boys in the Boat” to read sometime once I returned to my hometown of Bellingham, Washington, just a couple hours away from the very school which hailed the team that made Olympic history back in 1936, the same school focused on in the book itself. I didn’t get much of an opportunity to actually start the book until early September, during the beginning school year. I was immediately curious with it, as I knew of the events which took place near what turned out to be the end of the novel, that is America’s victory in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but nothing of the real events leading up to that point in the story. Events such as Washington’s various triumphs over some of the most prominent rowing programs in the nation, and of Joe Rantz’ struggle rising into prominence amongst his crew members. When the Olympic Games finally came around, I found myself enthralled with the storytelling, as well as the constant suspense build up, so much so that at certain points I actually doubted that the American rowing team was going to come out on top of the race. I never would have thought that the author could convince me that something I knew was going to happen wasn’t going to happen, and then suddenly snap me back into reality. Expect great storytelling from this book, and a constant flow of intriguing information about not only the American Olympic team, but about Nazi Germany and Hitler’s rise to power as well.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Recommendations: The Forgotten 500 (although military based, follows the same war-type setting), The Amateurs.

  13. Zoe Says:

    The story of the Boys in the Boat focuses from an early age of the life of a boy named Joe Rantz who encounters continuous struggles to gain a bright future. Not only Rantz but nine other ordinary boys all join together in hopes of becoming victorious in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, trying to show Washington has more to offer and be widely recognized. The boys train brutally while undergoing the struggles of the Great Depression, Hitler and their competitors Germany and Italy. The boys put all they have into winning the gold.

    When I picked this book I had no idea how many people have read and loved this book and I can see why. Brown incorporates history of the great depression throughout the characters’ life stories. It is filled with excitement as you watch one boy, Joe Rantz who struggles at a young age to beat the odds. It inspires I’m sure not only me, that if someone has the determination to obtain their dreams it is possible. I became absorbed in the boys’ quest for gold in the 1936 Olympics as I watched them struggle and strive in this riveting story. It is the perfect example of what true grit really means and I think everyone can learn something from this book.

  14. Rebecca S. Says:

    The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown, is a true story of how some American boys went to Berlin to win the Olympics in 1936. It all starts out with Joe Rantz’s father, whose first wife died, so he remarried a woman who eventually ostracized Joe Rantz. Joe went on to go to college in Washington state, where he met a girl named Joyce. Joe ended up joining the rowing team at his college, where he and his teammates were pretty good for a while, until they began to not do so well and their coach demoted them. Joe has to work for a while to be able to stay at the college and he succeeds. He gets to go back to row for college, and along the way, Joe experiences tragedy, but the one oddly bright spot is that he is able to reconnect with his family. He and his teammates are chosen to represent America at the Olympics, where they face challenges and struggles.

    This book was pretty good. It was written very well, and it moved along quickly and let the reader know what it was like for each of the other rowers as well. The best part was that the author didn’t seem to sugarcoat or embellish anything, so you knew exactly what was happening, like when they were rowing, you knew what was going wrong to make them slow down and what was going right to make them go faster. Overall, it was a very good book.

    Rating: I rate it 4 stars

    Recommendations: I recommend the book Starters by Bryan Lee O’Malley (technically a graphic novel) and Written in Red by Anne Bishop.

  15. bachbooks Says:

    Summary:
    The Boys in the Boat tells the story of Joe Rantz and his crewmates at the University of Washington as they compete to represent the United States at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. We learn about the challenging circumstances of Joe’s childhood and adolescence which helped shape his physical and emotional character. As the coaches and crew train for the competition of their lives, the author provides historical context on the dust bowl and Great depression. Sinister tales of Nazi Germany’s propaganda and pageantry in preparation for the games shadow the inspiring story of the boys in the boat rowing to put Seattle on the sporting map.

    Evaluation:
    For months before I finally picked up this book, I heard over and over: “You’ve got to read The Boys in the Boat.” Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. Like Romeo and Juliet, I knew the ending of the story from the very start, yet the masterful storytelling filled the book with excitement and suspense. This book may have captured me because of my Northwest roots or my passion for coaching cross country (a sport with a similar training ethic and ethos), or it might just be a great book. I found myself drawn into the lives of the characters, relating to their struggles, celebrating their triumph, and reveling in the legacy of the “White Blades of Washington.”

    Rating: 4.5 stars

    Recommendations: Unbroken, Bomb, Wild, The Good Rain, Lasso the Wind, The Worst Hard Time, In the Garden of Beasts

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