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The Boys in the Boat – Book Challenge 2K16

Molly Kane, Head of Teen Services and Emerging Technologies

The Boys in the Boat - Book CoverTitle & Author : The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Audio Book via Audible.com
Book Challenge Category: A book recommended by a librarian or book seller
Description: 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.

Review: You’d be surprised how many books on our shelves I HAVEN’T read. We have thousands of print materials and even if I were able to read one UDPL book a day for the rest of my life, I still wouldn’t be able to read them all. (Especially because we order so many new ones each month!) So I love when there’s a reason to read a book that every one else in the library is reading and this month it was The Boys in the Boat. Montgomery County’s One Book, One County event has made March & April Daniel James Brown month(s) in preparation of his author lectures on April 19th and I’m so very glad that they did.

Living along Kelly Drive and the Schuylkill River, I’ve always appreciated the athleticism and grace of rowing  even though I had no idea what it actually takes to row. It wasn’t that I was disinterested, I just never had an opportunity to learn much about it. The Boys in the Boat not only gave me an excellent primer into what it takes to be a rower, but also wove a fascinating tale about a historical period I thought I knew a lot about. The story was riveting and it’s now sparked something of an obsession with all things rowing!

The Boys in the Boat also introduced me to Paul Schugsta, a Philadelphia rower who’s taught me even more about the sport and its history. Paul is incredibly knowledgeable, so much so that he’s presenting a lecture on Boathouse Row and Philadelphia’s rowing culture at UDPL tonight! Paul’s a marvelous storyteller, so if The Boys in the Boat has given you the rowing bug, he’ll be able to answer all of your questions and more.

Plus we’ll also be raffling off two FREE tickets to see Daniel James Brown talk about The Boys in the Boat at tonight’s lecture. We’ll have free raffle tickets at the door starting at about 6:45p and one lucky person will go home with two FREE tickets to for the April 19th event at MCCC’s Science Theater! I hope to see you there!