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Date finished: January 18, 2018

Rating: ★★★★

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat is nothing less than an inspiring, well-told underdog story of nine men who stepped up for their country during the Great Depression. You don’t need to love rowing, history books, or even nonfiction to appreciate this one. Brown excels at painting suspenseful, nerve-wracking sequences when the boys are competing, and actor Edward Hermann expertly narrates the audiobook.

In 1936, a crew of nine unlikely rowers from the University of Washington took the world’s stage to represent the US in the Berlin Olympic Games. The book’s narrative follows the crewmen, along with their coach, Al Ulbrickson, and the man who crafted the team’s boats and acted as their mentor, George Yeoman Pocock. Brown relied on rower Joe Rantz’s memories, the rowers’ diaries, and accounts from friends and family to compile the narrative, and the result is compelling.

I gave this four instead of five stars because there were certain things about which the author gives a little too much information and others about which I found myself wanting to know more. Overall, I loved this story and will be reading more by Daniel James Brown.

Photo courtesy @hattiesbookshelf (Instagram)

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