The Boys in the Boat
Daniel James Brown
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, this is the bestselling story about a rowing team’s quest for Olympic gold in Nazi Germany.
Cast aside by his family at an early age, abandoned and left to fend for himself in the woods of Washington State, young Joe Rantz turns to rowing as a way of escaping his past.
What follows is an extraordinary journey, as Joe and eight other working-class boys exchange the sweat and dust of life in 1930s America for the promise of glory at the heart of Hitler’s Berlin. Stroke by stroke, a remarkable young man strives to regain his shattered self-regard, to dare again to trust in others – and to find his way back home.
Told against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat is narrative non-fiction of the first order; a personal story full of lyricism and unexpected beauty that rises above the grand sweep of history, and captures instead the purest essence of what it means to be alive.
‘I really can’t rave enough about this book . . . I read the last fifty pages with white knuckles, and the last twenty-five with tears in my eyes’ – David Laskin, author of The Children’s Blizzard and The Long Way Home.
'The Boys in the Boat is a triumph of great writing matched with a magnificent story. Daniel James Brown strokes the keyboard like a master oarsman, blending power and grace to propel readers toward a heart-pounding finish.' Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time. 'Chariots of Fire - with oars [Brown's] descriptions of the key races are exciting and dramatic, and it is impossible not to get wrapped up in the emotion.' The Times 'Like Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit and Michael Lewis's Moneyball before it, The Boys in the Boat has all the ingredients for a film adaptation. Written with cinematic precision, it tells the story of Joe Rantz, who grows up in obscurity during the Great Depression only to triumph over adversity as one of the US rowing crew that won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics [...] a moving, enlightening and gripping tale' Financial Times 'In 1936 nine working-class American boys burst from their small towns into the international limelight, unexpectedly wiping the smile off Adolf Hitler's face by beating his vaulted German team to capture the Olympic gold medal. Daniel James Brown has written a robust, emotional snapshot of an era, a book you will recommend to your best friends.' James Bradley, Flags of Our Fathers, Flyboys, The Imperial Cruise 'For this nautical version of Chariots of Fire, Brown crafts an evocative, cinematic prose ... studded with engrossing explanations of rowing technique and strategy, exciting come-from-behind race scenes, and the requisite hymns to "mystic bands of trust and affection" forged on the water.' Publishers Weekly 'The Boys in the Boat is the thrilling true story of the 1936 University of Washington crew team, which went from backwater obscurity to a gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. [...] A story this breathtaking demands an equally compelling author, and Brown does not disappoint. The narrative rises inexorably, with the final 50 pages blurring by with white-knuckled suspense as these all-American underdogs pull off the unimaginable.' The Seattle Times
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