Thursday, February 26, 2015

"It’s funny how one of the best sports books I’ve ever read is about rowing. I never would have guessed that, but I’m so fortunate to have picked up this very special book about an incredible team of very special individuals." ~Pete

http://bit.ly/1wdbzr6
The #1 New York Times–bestselling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany

For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.
 
Pete says:
The Boys in the Boat tells the true story of the amazing American rowing team in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. The pinnacle moment, of course, is the big medal race under the watchful eyes of Adolph Hitler and his minions, along with thousands upon thousands of screaming German fans. The more compelling story, however, is just how these young Americans got to the Olympic level, these college boys from the University of Washington.

Rowing was a more popular sport in the early parts of the 20th century than it is today. But it was seen as an ‘elite’ sport, more fitting for Ivy League schools than for country boys from the northwest corner of the country. This particular team of 9 came together during the worst part of the Great Depression. Money was tight and jobs were scarce -- or non-existent. It was astonishing to read about what some of the guys had to go through to find odd jobs, to eat, to study, to pay tuition, and to row, day after day, faster and faster, battling fatigue, battling the elements, to keep winning, to keep going…

The thrust of the story concerns rower Joe Rantz. In the thick of the Depression, when he was just 15, Joe spotted his family packing up the car. After asking where they all were going, Joe was told he wasn’t going anywhere. The family was leaving him behind as he was getting too big and there were too many other mouths to feed. Things like that happened back then. Pets were often abandoned, some people too. But with gumption nearly impossible to believe, Joe maintains his schoolwork, works a myriad of odd jobs, poaches fish from a stream to eat, and yet a couple years later somehow gets himself enrolled at the University of Washington. Joe’s tall and muscular body grabs the attention of someone who suggests he try his hand at rowing, and the rest, they say, is history. It’s funny how one of the best sports books I’ve ever read is about rowing. I never would have guessed that, but I’m so fortunate to have picked up this very special book about an incredible team of very special individuals.
 

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