Monday, April 20, 2015

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

Around this time of year, I start seeing the college rowing crews out on the river as I cross the bridge into town on my way to work. The crews fascinate me, and I've wondered what it must be like to be part of such a team, oars moving through the water in unison. Thanks to The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (2013), I have a greater appreciation of the sport of rowing and the philosophy behind it, as well as the opportunity of reading a corker of a story about the underdog University of Washington rowing team that won the 1936 gold medal in Berlin as Hitler looked on.

Here are some of the things that I liked about this book: the poignant story of Joe Rantz, his heartbreaking personal setbacks and his rowing challenges as he struggles to find a way to belong; the stoic and quiet wisdom of Coach Al Ulbrickson who wants so much for his team; the wise words of George Pocock, the famed British rower and maker of racing shells, his presence valuable in so many ways to the Washington team; and the wonderful writing that captures the races leading up to the Olympics, and the nail biter of a spectacular Olympic race (At times, I felt like I was in the boat, too!). Brown does a good job of bringing the story to life amid the Depression and the atmosphere in Nazi Germany leading up to World War II.  

Needless to say, I recommend this book. Along with reading the book, I also listened to portions of the audio book, and what I heard was excellent narration by Edward Herrmann.

Have you read Boys in the Boat


  1. I haven't read it, but I want to!

  2. Glad u loved this. All of the reviews I've read have been so positive.

  3. I loved this one. And - never in a million years thought an author could get me interested in the mechanics of rowing...yet, he did!