Summary: The #1 New York Times–bestselling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany, the inspiration for the PBS documentary The Boys of ’36, broadcast to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 80th anniversary of the boys’ gold medal race.
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…Read more.
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Daniel James Brown: The Boys in the Boat Audio Book Summary
The Boys in the Boat is a book by American writer Daniel James Brown, which tells the story of the extraordinary oars team that won the Gold Medal for the United States of America during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Brown recounts two parallel histories: that of the Olympic Games organized by Hitler to please the world before attempting to conquer it and to show off its nation, and that of the United States in the midst of the economic depression.
Germany hosted the Olympic Games. Hitler was at the height of his popularity and was carrying out his plans to turn Germany back into a world power. On the other hand, the United States was in a terrible economic crisis. It was a historic moment when a group of boys managed to defeat the German team and the rest of the competitors.
In the first instance, the Olympic Committee benefited commercially by letting the Olympics take place in Germany, for Hitler it was a true honor and an opportunity to show the progress of Germany after the Treaty of Versailles. Goebbels, who was a propaganda minister, dedicated himself to the task of beautifying the city by removing signs banning entry to the Jewish population and removing vagrants from it.
Brown describes the infamous actions carried out by the Nazi, the horror of the massacres. But also, the racial discrimination in the United States, being that the inclusion of black or Latino athletes was not allowed.
On the other hand, the rowers at the University of Washington were children of loggers, and resourceful farmers, most of them from the West Coast of Seattle, the other teams from prestigious universities such as Princeton and Harvard. Nevertheless, the equipment selected for the Olympics was in charge of Al Ulbrikson who had reputation of severe and perfectionist.
When the eight oarsmen beat Princeton University, they were told they could not attend the Olympics unless they paid for themselves, knowing that it would not be a simple task since they knew the origins of the competitors and their precarious economic situation . It was the people of Seattle who collected enough money for the troughs to compete.
The book tells a little about the life of each of the athletes and the obstacles they had to face and who forged their mettle to distinguish themselves from the way they did, for example, Don Hume, became seriously ill with bronchitis shortly before The competition nevertheless gave its best. O Joe Rantz who is the main character in the story, who after the death of his mother, is abandoned by orders of his stepmother, but with effort and tenacity manages to study and get a place on the Olympic team. Rantz is interviewed in his last days by the author and makes an emotional remembrance of his life that revolves around the event that changed it, take away the Gold.
Undoubtedly Brown gets, perhaps unintentionally, a truly inspiring story. It does not matter if the reader is not regular of historical readings or about sports, what is certain, is that it is a story that has to do with overcoming adversities and giving the best of itself, a success story. It is a masterfully narrated book.