Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Time Out for Books: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin OlympicsThe Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read mostly fiction and am grateful for my departure with The Boys in the Boat. Oh my -- what an amazing story and even more incredible storyteller. I knew nothing about rowing let alone competitive rowing and now I want to run right out and learn.... well almost. The backbone of the story deals with the University of Washington's mens rowing team but interwoven with this thread are the events of the time: the Dust Bowl, Great Depression and lead-in to World War II, giving BITB an epic sweep but also a deeply personal feel. It reminds me a bit of what Erik Larson did in The Devil in White City but here I really cared about the characters and became totally immersed in details of rowing and boat craftsmanship. And what characters they were starting with Joe Rantz, a member of the crew whose life is a testimonial to strength of will and spirit. My heart broke reading about his growing-up years and his struggle to make his own way. Please read this book. It may not inspire you to row but it will motivate you to look on even your worst day as not so bad.

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