Skip to main content

Book Review: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown


The University of Washington's eight-oar crew team made history in 1936 at Hitler's Berlin Olympics. In The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown tells the story of the boys who rowed to victory, and those who trained alongside them. He tells of their struggles, both physical and emotional, during this challenging time in history. He tells the story of the coaches and the competitors that pushed the boys to give everything they had to give. But it is the boat itself that is at the heart of the story.

Coming from humble backgrounds, most of the boys knew nothing of rowing, yet within just a few years of stepping into the boat, they found the greatest victory. I loved reading about the journey that brought them to this place. Although Brown brings a cast of characters into the story, he goes deeper into one boy's life and experiences. Joe Rantz suffered much loss and hardship in his early life, but he persevered and made it into the University of Washington and onto the crew team. It is Rantz who inspires Brown to write this book, and his personal story brings a depth of emotion and feeling to The Boys in the Boat.

We also get a clear picture of the moment in history in which these boys lived. The jobs many of them had to take on in a harsh economy so they could continue to attend school, and the worries that there wouldn't even be jobs available upon graduation, showed how much more they were dealing with every day. At times throughout the book, we also get to see what was happening in Germany at the time, the preparations for the Olympics and the propaganda that was used to give the world a positive image of the country that was already preparing for war.

I found the whole book fascinating and it was well-liked by everyone in my book club. We all laughed about the fact that even though we knew the outcome of the Olympic race, we were all on the edge of our seats wondering if they would really do it. That's the sign of some great writing.

If you're looking for an amazing account of a great moment in history, I highly recommend The Boys in the Boat. It makes for an excellent book club choice as well.

My Rating:

Watch the book trailer:


Book club readers guide

This review was written based on a copy of The Boys in the Boat that I borrowed from my mom. This post includes Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase something using my link, I will receive a very small commission but your price does not change.

Comments

  1. I really enjoyed this book too and thought of it last week after I saw the movie Race about Jesse Owens who was at the same Olympics.

    ReplyDelete
  2. ha ha - that's exactly what my book group said, too - the subtitle gives away the ending, yet it's filled with suspense! Excellent book - glad you enjoyed it, too. Can't wait to hear the author speak next week!

    Sue

    Book By Book

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Banned Books Week: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

This is the end of Banned Books Week and unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to write about banned books this year. But I did want to include at least one post about it, so today I wanted to share one of the book series that it seems most people are surprised to find on the list: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.

According to Wikipedia:
The Junie B. Jones series came in at #71 on the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books from 2000-2009. Reasons cited are poor social values taught by the books and Junie B. Jones not being considered a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. This is an interesting example of a banned book. Many times there are serious, controversial topics featured in books that are challenged. Things like homosexuality, drugs, vulgar language, etc. You can actually understand why people may not want their children to read those books, and why they may challenge their inclusion in school libra…

April Reading Review

Where exactly did April go? I swear it was just the middle of March and now it's May. Once again, I'm going to provide a quick review of each of the books I read last month. For the last two weeks of the month, I participated in the Spring Into Horror Readathon hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading. The only rule was that you had to read at least one book that was horror, thriller, etc. I read one book that qualified. With the exception of the first book in my list, the books I mention below were read during the readathon


My book club's May selection was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. I had started reading this nonfiction book about the author's work representing men, women and children who were on death row in March but finished the book in April. This is an eye-opening story that everyone at my book club discussion agreed should be required reading for law schools and police officers and even legislators who are making the laws related to judgements. I learned to…

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …