Home Recommended Reading Workshops About RSS

Posts Tagged ‘Daniel James Brown’

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT: A True Story ~Daniel James Brown (Narrated by Edward Herrman)

Monday, January 26th, 2015

“Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics”

I highly recommend THE BOYS IN THE BOAT as a book the whole family – everyone you know will enjoy.  This interesting piece of history was recommended to me by a number of people and when I suggested it to my husband he stated that several folks had recommended it to him also.

We were set for a 14 hour 2 day car trip and decided to purchase THE BOYS IN THE BOAT from Audible.com so I could play it from my cellphone app. And we could turn it on and off quickly as needed.   As it turned out the reader was one of my favorite actors and he did a marvelous job and made us laugh several times as he created new sounds for the Native American names of several places and rivers!

This is the story of the Crew team from the University of Washington in Seattle, which won the Gold Medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  It is the story of a specific oarsman, Joe, who was still alive and was living in Sequim, Washington on his family farm.  Being on the crew team was the only way this young man could afford to study and become an engineer at University.  Some of the boys were from wealthier families, but several were extremely poor and counted on being fed by the crew team privileges also.  We know a great deal about each individual on the team, as the Coach insisted all keep journals.

The Coach just knew he had a team, which would create a world-class group of competitors and truly put the spotlight on the UW team for years to come.  And the team met that expectation and went on beyond their dreams and imaginations.  The Coach had some amazing rules about practice sessions, and his demanding discipline about grades and studies, and for correct behaviors.  He also had the most important shell (boat) builder working for his team and this fellow had won a great deal of respect in the Rowing community for his crewing experience and his exquisite craftsmanship.  He studied the team when they practiced, no matter the weather or the freezing, rough seas.

The individual stories of the team and coaches were very interesting and held one’s attention and Joe certainly had a tough story to follow as his mother died and his stepmother abandoned him along the way.  After her death, Joe ended up raising her children and caring for them.  All of Seattle rallied behind their amazing crew team, raised the funds for the US competitions back on the east coast and then for the Olympic expedition.  Listening to the story about the races, had us on the edge of our seats with anticipation and several times we just sat in the car to hear the conclusion of a chapter or a race.

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT is a story about integrity and honest pursuit with big outcomes and finally a huge reward.   The training was rigorous and the coaching tough and productive.  The beautiful excerpts about building the boats graciously told.  Joe’s and the team member’s stories were tributes to teamwork and perseverance.   It was wonderful to figure out where each of the 9 spent their lives after the big race.  Brown is quite the storyteller and you will feel like you have been there rooting for the team in the crowd.

Official Website  (there is some official movie footage of the race)

About the Author:

“I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Diablo Valley College, the University of California at Berkeley, and UCLA. I taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford before becoming a technical writer and editor. I now write narrative nonfiction books full time. My primary interest as a writer is in bringing compelling historical events to life as vividly and accurately as I can.
I live in the country outside of Seattle, Washington with my wife, two daughters, and an assortment of cats, dogs, chickens, and honeybees. When I am not writing, I am likely to be birding, gardening, fly fishing, reading American history, or chasing bears away from the bee hives.” (from website)

Edward Herrman recently passed away from cancer.  He played the Grandfather on “Gilmore Girls” and many exceptional roles in his career.

This is a book you would want to recommend to your best friend.

Related:
A Snug Life Somewhere
Playing St. Barbara 
The Signature of All Things
Margaret Fuller 
Muckers