The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team’s Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics, by Daniel James Brown

I rowed at Harvard. My disclaimer: I was on the Lowell House women’s crew team.  We were an intramural team. One woman has rowed Freshman crew for Harvard. We rowed one race on the Charles. I caught a small crab. We did not win.

I loved this story of the University of Washington’s crew team’s rise to Gold. There was much with which I could identify. Blisters on the my hands, cold early mornings in old sweats, carrying the shell down the ramp to the river. Crew is the only sport I have participated in where you must work so intensely as a team that you are almost one organism. You keep the cadence even when you feel you might have a heart attack, because you cannot let your team down.

This is an inspiring story told mostly about one crew member, deserted by his family, dirt poor, who worked his way into college in Washington. It will inspire you, maybe make you tear up, excite you. The writer captures the spirit of the rowing and the racing well.

Participation in the Berlin Olympics was controversial. We have just had a movie on Jessie Owens, “Race,” that also covers the Berlin Olympics. His five gold medals are mentioned in this book, too. Enjoy the ride, whether you are a teen, as yet untried in the competitive sports arena, or someone who was a competitor, but hung up their oar. There is something in this book that will inspire all of us.

Enjoy the journey.




About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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