I’m probably the last person in Seattle to read this book. Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is a remarkable story of nine young men from the University of Washington who overcame all odds to win the 1936 Olympic gold medal in rowing. Even though you know the end before you start reading, the book is compelling and exciting. Throughout, Brown focuses on one crew member, Joe Rantz, whose early life was so challenging it’s implausible he would survive, let alone succeed. His is a truly moving story. The author interviewed Joe Rantz for this book shortly before he passed away in 2007.
An interesting element of the book is the context Brown provides on Germany in 1936 as Hitler was gaining momentum. This was Hitler’s Olympics and the U.S. win over Germany was a particular affront to him.
I really enjoyed the gripping details Brown conjures out of the races that lead to the Olympic gold. Each race is captivating.This story is about inspiration and teamwork on a transcendent level. It’s a must read. The question is, why did it take over 70 years for this story to be told?
See what the Seattle Times had to say about Boys in the Boat.