The Boys in the Boat
For readers of Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit and Unbroken, the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics

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.

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The Boys in the Boat Reviews

  • Jonetta
    Aug 27, 2016


    This is a bit more than the story of the 1936 Olympic crew challenge by the team from the University of Washington. Using one of the crew members as the focus, it combines his personal experience against the backdrop of the important historical events of that era (the 1929 stock market...

  • Suzy
    Aug 16, 2016


    This book is a thrilling story about what I will call a Cosmic Convergence starting in the early 1930's and culminating at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics with the United States winning (against all odds and expectations) the 8-man crew rowing gold medal. Brown tells us the story of ho...

  • Christi Tulenko
    Aug 16, 2016

    Christi Tulenko

    If Olympic medals were given for storytelling skills, Daniel James Brown would certainly get the gold medal, that’s for sure! A beautifully written non-fiction book that reads like a fiction..Daniel James Brown tells the story of nine boys, all from underprivileged backgrounds, al...

  • Perry
    Aug 6, 2016


    Vivid part of "eternal landscape of the past" embodying the "mighty hopes that make us men" and women* Story of Glory, Evocative of Greek Mythology Jesse Owens Wins Olympic Gold in 100 meter sprint, as Hitler watches on1936 U.S. Olympic Rowing TeamYou probably already know this book is...

  • Britany
    Jul 11, 2016


    I'm going to start off by saying that I'm in the minority on this one, and I'm ok with that. I felt like I was rowing through the Nile River getting through this book. I wanted it to be great, I wanted it to read like a narrative story, and most of all, I wanted to connect to the chara...

  • Jeannie
    Jul 6, 2016


    I struggled with this book and set it down a couple of times, it just wasn't holding my attention. This time I read it with my book club so I really wanted to finish it and I am very glad I did. There are parts that are detailed and slow and parts where the pages don't turn fast enough...

  • Stephanie
    Jul 2, 2016


    4 stars. Inspiring story of University of Washington's rowing team's rise to win the 1936 Olympics with great historical detail!! Prepare to be inspired!! This compelling story is largely told through the eyes of Joe Rantz (one of the rowers), who is an amazing individual! His neighbo...

  • Brina
    Mar 29, 2016


    I read this book because my father kept telling me that I would enjoy it. Truthfully, l finally picked up so he would stop nagging me about it even though it is about sports and history- my two favorite things. Boys in the Boat is the motivational story of Joe Rantz, his wife Joyce, an...

  • Carmen
    Mar 28, 2016


    Everyone should have heard of this book by now. It's about the crew team that won the gold medal in the Berlin Olympics.This is really perfect from a non-fiction standpoint. We have poverty and hard work - Joe, our focus, is very poor and works insanely hard just to afford food.We have...

  • Brittany
    Mar 28, 2016


    Check out my blog to see Reviews of Book and Movies, and check out some Recipes!This starts out with a prologue that ends in chills. Brown does an immense job illustrating the life of Joe Rantz and his crew, as week as detailed descriptions of what it takes to row on a team. Peppered i...