It's been a while since I posted a book review but I think that's mostly laziness because I've been reading (listening) a lot so I'm going to try to catch up over the next couple of months and have set a goal of one review a week.
The Boys in the Boat is one such story. I didn't realize it by rowing was a nationally followed sport in the 1930's and the perfect boat and team came together for the 1936 Olympics in Germany.
Here's the publisher's summary:
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.
Before reading this book I knew absolutely nothing about rowing. I picked the book because it had good reviews and because I do like to read non-fiction occasionally. This is the story of the right boatmaker, coach and rowers all being together in the right place at the right time. It's a story of team and what can be accomplished when every team member is focused on the same goal at the same minute. But the success of the story is in the storytelling. While I knew how it would end I found myself riveted to the story to see how it would end. That's good storytelling!
Daniel James Brown is such a good writer that I looked for other books by him. Unfortunately Audible only has this one.The narrator is Edward Herrmann who you will recognized from many documentaries on the History Channel and PBS.
This isn't a story about sports with loads of boring stats. It's a story about the people who made up this incredible team and it's a great story.