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The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics

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The #1 New York Times  bestseller about the Greatest Generation freshly adapted for the next generation. For readers of  Unbroken, out of the depths of the Great Depression comes the astonishing tale of nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant. With rowers who were the sons of loggers, shipyard work The #1 New York Times  bestseller about the Greatest Generation freshly adapted for the next generation. For readers of  Unbroken, out of the depths of the Great Depression comes the astonishing tale of nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant. With rowers who were the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew was never expected to defeat the elite East Coast teams, yet they did, going on to shock the world by challenging the German boat rowing for Adolf Hitler. At the center of the tale is Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, whose personal quest captures the spirit of his generation—the generation that would prove in the coming years that the Nazis could not prevail over American determination and optimism. This deeply emotional yet easily accessible young readers adaptation of the award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller features never-before-seen photographs, highly visual back matter, and an exclusive new introduction.


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The #1 New York Times  bestseller about the Greatest Generation freshly adapted for the next generation. For readers of  Unbroken, out of the depths of the Great Depression comes the astonishing tale of nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant. With rowers who were the sons of loggers, shipyard work The #1 New York Times  bestseller about the Greatest Generation freshly adapted for the next generation. For readers of  Unbroken, out of the depths of the Great Depression comes the astonishing tale of nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant. With rowers who were the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew was never expected to defeat the elite East Coast teams, yet they did, going on to shock the world by challenging the German boat rowing for Adolf Hitler. At the center of the tale is Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, whose personal quest captures the spirit of his generation—the generation that would prove in the coming years that the Nazis could not prevail over American determination and optimism. This deeply emotional yet easily accessible young readers adaptation of the award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller features never-before-seen photographs, highly visual back matter, and an exclusive new introduction.

30 review for The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    5.0 Brilliant!!! This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. The fact that my heart started pumping during the description of numerous races I already knew the outcome to speaks volumes about the skills of the author. As amazing as the story of the competitions may have been it was the lessons in life threaded throughout the book that will stay with me the most. I love the messages of perseverance against all odds, hardwork, overcoming heartbreak, the power of teamwork, selflessne 5.0 Brilliant!!! This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. The fact that my heart started pumping during the description of numerous races I already knew the outcome to speaks volumes about the skills of the author. As amazing as the story of the competitions may have been it was the lessons in life threaded throughout the book that will stay with me the most. I love the messages of perseverance against all odds, hardwork, overcoming heartbreak, the power of teamwork, selflessness, the love of two soul mates, the lessons of history, the spirit at the heart of America, setting and attaining goals and ultimately good overcoming evil that are found after every turn of a page. I think this young adult adaptation is phenomenal and I will most definitely be reading the adult version at some point because I didn't want this book to end and I think it gives a more thorough account of some of the major historical events. This young adult version has the right mixture of history, excitement, and inspiration for my students. I can't wait to see what they think.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brittnee

    I accidentally checked out this version, the "young readers" adaption by mistake but I'm glad I did. :) I didn't know much about rowing before reading this - so fun to learn about it. I really, really enjoyed reading the story of these guys - about hard work, perseverance and overcoming when the odds are stacked against them. I couldn't help but get teary-eyed at the end. This book is a great read for all ages! I accidentally checked out this version, the "young readers" adaption by mistake but I'm glad I did. :) I didn't know much about rowing before reading this - so fun to learn about it. I really, really enjoyed reading the story of these guys - about hard work, perseverance and overcoming when the odds are stacked against them. I couldn't help but get teary-eyed at the end. This book is a great read for all ages!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    This is one of those books I just couldn't put down. I am quite interested in WWII, and to have a true success story, with Nazi Germany as a back ground, well, this was a double dip of happiness for me. In addition, the author weaves together the unrelenting depression, when so many lost so much, including Joe Rantz's family. There is just so much in this book. The dust bowl. Weather statistics that have yet to be broken. Child abandonment. The Olympics of 1936, in Nazi Germany. And the delibera This is one of those books I just couldn't put down. I am quite interested in WWII, and to have a true success story, with Nazi Germany as a back ground, well, this was a double dip of happiness for me. In addition, the author weaves together the unrelenting depression, when so many lost so much, including Joe Rantz's family. There is just so much in this book. The dust bowl. Weather statistics that have yet to be broken. Child abandonment. The Olympics of 1936, in Nazi Germany. And the deliberate deception perpetrated by Hitler and his SS to hide and deceive the rest of the world. Page 359...."Within days of the closing ceremony of the 1936 Olympics, the Nazis renewed their persecution of German Jews and others to whom they believed they were superior.....the brutality, the terror resumed..."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Very well done and interesting.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kim Clifton

    I'm not a runner, so the one time I stood at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, I was shocked when I found myself crying. Watching people push themselves to do something against the limits of human athleticism moved me in a way I couldn't expect. Reading this book must have been a similar experience because I found myself choking up the entire time. I don't even like sports. Why is my face so wet?!? I'm not a runner, so the one time I stood at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, I was shocked when I found myself crying. Watching people push themselves to do something against the limits of human athleticism moved me in a way I couldn't expect. Reading this book must have been a similar experience because I found myself choking up the entire time. I don't even like sports. Why is my face so wet?!?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I read this with my 13 year old son and we both really enjoyed it. Having read both the 'regular' and 'young reader's edition', I think I would probably stick with the full version. Unless you're reading to really young readers (maybe under 10), I think you miss parts of the story that bring it more color & life. There isn't content that I would worry about for older kids & I missed some of the detail from the original. That being said, this story is still fantastic. Really glad we read this tog I read this with my 13 year old son and we both really enjoyed it. Having read both the 'regular' and 'young reader's edition', I think I would probably stick with the full version. Unless you're reading to really young readers (maybe under 10), I think you miss parts of the story that bring it more color & life. There isn't content that I would worry about for older kids & I missed some of the detail from the original. That being said, this story is still fantastic. Really glad we read this together.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Connor

    The boys rowing team at Washington University made it to the Olympics for the first time ever. Follow their journey to the olympics in the book The Boys in The Boat by Daniel James Brown. The book follows the perspective of Joe Rantz and his rowing team on their way to the 1936 Olympic Games. Joe and his team were in college during the time of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Joe’s crew were mostly lumberjacks and farm boys that didn't know what rowing was before college. Despite their lack of The boys rowing team at Washington University made it to the Olympics for the first time ever. Follow their journey to the olympics in the book The Boys in The Boat by Daniel James Brown. The book follows the perspective of Joe Rantz and his rowing team on their way to the 1936 Olympic Games. Joe and his team were in college during the time of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Joe’s crew were mostly lumberjacks and farm boys that didn't know what rowing was before college. Despite their lack of knowledge about the sport they were dedicated to it. They rowed most every day during the season to improve their skill. By the end of freshman year Joe and his team were one of the best freshman teams in America. Their sophomore year they were so good that they were one of the options for a Varsity boat. Eventually they did become the Varsity team but not before multiple changes to the boat during Joe’s rowing slump. They then raced the other best college teams in the country to see who would be going to the Olympics. It was a rough start for the Washington team but they won and were going to Berlin for the Olympics. When they got to Berlin they were not rowing their best, right before the first day of the games however they found their rhythm again receiving fast times in their trials. To find out how the college team from Washington University came home with olympic gold, I recommend reading this book. To anyone simply looking for a good book to read I would pick this book up. The Boys in The Boat is an exhilarating book which includes a lot of information on rowing. You do not need to be in to sports to like this book and it's not a book that takes forever to read. Therefore, if you get a chance to read this book I really recommend reading it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Greta Slabach

    Excellent read about a sport I had never heard of and an event that was so important in pre-WWII history. But no one really talks about it either. You should definitely read this book! I got so emotionally involved and this was only the adapted version for young readers. Still really good. This adapted version was the first I had heard of this book and now I want the original. Boys. Teamwork. Struggle. Pain. Loss and hardship. Close calls and endurance. This book has it all.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dani

    Read this young readers version of this book as a read-aloud to my daughter and son (8 and 11). We all loved it! Such a great story of how adversity can make us strong and determined, and how learning to depend on others can deepen our connections and bring us hope and joy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Our family listened to this book at the recommendation of my oldest son who read it in school. It was a great family audiobook. The story is compelling. We plan to watch the races described in the book on YouTube this week.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kendra Kendle

    I love this book. Reads like a novel. So good.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wendee

    I knew this would be good but have not gotten to it until now unfortunately. It exceeded expectations and will be added to my favorites.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lorea Roson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really liked this book. It was an interesting story about a guy named Joe Rantz whos mother died when he was very young and the woman that his father remarried, hated Joe. I read the children's edition and i imagine that the original is great too. I really liked this book. It was an interesting story about a guy named Joe Rantz whos mother died when he was very young and the woman that his father remarried, hated Joe. I read the children's edition and i imagine that the original is great too.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    This was a phenomenal read, and one I wouldn't have begun had it not been on my lit group's discussion list. What did I know or care about rowing? But as much as I learned about that grueling and exacting sport, I learned more about the times in which this book was set, the human condition, and the politics of sport than I had ever expected to know. This is the story of the U of Washington's crew team that won at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. The story centers around one member of the crew, Joe R This was a phenomenal read, and one I wouldn't have begun had it not been on my lit group's discussion list. What did I know or care about rowing? But as much as I learned about that grueling and exacting sport, I learned more about the times in which this book was set, the human condition, and the politics of sport than I had ever expected to know. This is the story of the U of Washington's crew team that won at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. The story centers around one member of the crew, Joe Rantz, whom the author met just before Mr. Rantz passed away and who directed that any book Brown might write be about all the boys in the boat, not just him. Mr. Brown honored that directive from beginning to end. The amount of research the author had to do to write this book is simply voluminous, and how he managed to include so much of it so deftly is really amazing to me. Every paragraph is packed full of information -- about Joe or one of the other boys; about the Depression; about the coaches; about the sport of rowing; about how the rowing shells (boats) are built; about Nazi Germany; about the industries of the times. Yet the story, the story, -- that rises through and above all the information so clearly that I didn't get bogged down at all. I learned, but I also exulted with the good times, worried about the challenges, grew angry at Joe's father, felt the tension of each important crew race, enough so that at one point I wanted to chide the author for building the setting so well and just get on with the race! I am in awe of Daniel James Brown's skill at assembling, sorting, and interweaving so much information without losing the story, without becoming didactic or providing information just because he had it available. Everything works together to create a larger whole -- just as the boys in the boat worked together to create something larger than themselves. This is a superb piece of writing. And an equally fine reading experience, one which will stay alive long after I've gone on to other books. I heartily recommend it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    Okay. So, first of all, I have read the original adult version of this book (listened to the audiobook) and LOVVVEEEDDD it. So this is truly a review of the adaptation for young people. It included my favorite bits, which were compellingly written play-by-plays of the important races that the guys rowed. I think there was less of an emphasis on the elite history of the sport of rowing crew, which softened the edge of competition between the crews from the West and the crews from the East. I thin Okay. So, first of all, I have read the original adult version of this book (listened to the audiobook) and LOVVVEEEDDD it. So this is truly a review of the adaptation for young people. It included my favorite bits, which were compellingly written play-by-plays of the important races that the guys rowed. I think there was less of an emphasis on the elite history of the sport of rowing crew, which softened the edge of competition between the crews from the West and the crews from the East. I think this book still does bring history to life in a nice way (for example: as the boys are coming home west from a competition in the East, they travel through dust storms that were the start of the Dust Bowl). I also think that this is a great story of a working class kid, a kid with the deck really stacked against him, defying the odds and doing something awesome. It's a lesson in resiliency and hard work paying off without feeling like a lesson. But a big (maybe fatal?) flaw for me in this young reader's version is the inclusion of a photo of some of the boys at the 1936 Olympics wearing feathers tied around their heads (a la "playing Indian") with zero explanation of what they are doing. The caption just states their names. It is inappropriate to include this photo of stereotypical cultural appropriation at all, let alone with no explanation or historical note. I would rather have no photo than this one included. I'm guessing it was also included in the adult version of the book (I don't know for sure since I listened to the audiobook), which still bothers me but bothers me less since I would expect adult readers to come to the book with a larger frame of reference with which to interpret this offensive photo.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    My book club picked this book for its latest selection. It's become quite a popular book becoming a pick for "One Book, One Community" so I thought I'd have no trouble getting a copy at the library. I was wrong. But I found one available copy! It had a different cover than the others, but didn't think anything of it. Come to find out, I've been reading the 'Young Readers Adaptation' the whole time. I blew through most of the book in one night, bragged to my book club about finishing early and th My book club picked this book for its latest selection. It's become quite a popular book becoming a pick for "One Book, One Community" so I thought I'd have no trouble getting a copy at the library. I was wrong. But I found one available copy! It had a different cover than the others, but didn't think anything of it. Come to find out, I've been reading the 'Young Readers Adaptation' the whole time. I blew through most of the book in one night, bragged to my book club about finishing early and thinking my son would really like this book! I've added my name to the hold for the unabridged version wondering what I've missed, if I should make the effort to read that book too or move on with my other TBRs. What made this book so special for me was the local connection, about a rowing team from Seattle, Washington. I could just imagine the scenery, weather and water described in the book since I have paddled the frigid waters of the Pacific Northwest in my kayak. I'm also enjoying extending my learning on this book, watching black and white clips of the 1936 gold medal race on You Tube and interviews with the author. What I found especially curious was how this book came to be. The author was invited to Joe Rantz's house because he liked the author's other book. Um, in his other book he wrote about the lost Donner Party. Creepy! Now that I mentioned it, I might like to read that too.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics is a fabulous story of true grit and determination. These nine young men from the University of Washington set out to be the best rowers the world had to offer. With hardly any money to their names, living in the depths of The Great Depression, these men were sons of farmers, loggers, and shipyard workers, hardly any match to the wealthy and privileged rowers from the East Coast who usually t The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics is a fabulous story of true grit and determination. These nine young men from the University of Washington set out to be the best rowers the world had to offer. With hardly any money to their names, living in the depths of The Great Depression, these men were sons of farmers, loggers, and shipyard workers, hardly any match to the wealthy and privileged rowers from the East Coast who usually took the title. This story is truly un-put-down-able and reads like a suspense novel ascending to its final and thrilling conclusion at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics. Foreshadowing Hitler's fall from domination, these American men gave their all in the face of adversity. An incredibly well-researched informational text that includes an author's note, timeline of events, instructions on rowing by their coach, diagrams, historical photographs, and an index.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    This is my favorite book of 2016 so far, by far. It's so intriguing that one can already know the outcome of historical events and yet thrill at the suspense of the story itself. The wholehearted yearning of Joe Rantz and his fellows to overcome all odds is the human story in a nutshell. My inner cynic could argue that this is just a more protracted, old-fashioned version of the athlete profiles journalists tell during every Olympics. But so what. I loved reading how these boys and their boat tr This is my favorite book of 2016 so far, by far. It's so intriguing that one can already know the outcome of historical events and yet thrill at the suspense of the story itself. The wholehearted yearning of Joe Rantz and his fellows to overcome all odds is the human story in a nutshell. My inner cynic could argue that this is just a more protracted, old-fashioned version of the athlete profiles journalists tell during every Olympics. But so what. I loved reading how these boys and their boat triumphed over adversity even with all the odds stacked against them. It also reminds me that there is great strength in humility, trust, friendship, hard work, and idealism. In our hard-boiled world, those virtues are needed more than ever.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura Moss

    Apparently, I listened to the YA version on audiobook without realizing it. I didn't even know there was more than one version. Come to find out that authors are currently releasing versions of non-fiction books for young readers that have graphic scenes edited out. I think that's wonderful! From what I found out, the original version of this particular book was not really graphic, so much as, it contains more detailed descriptions of rowing that might be difficult for younger readers to underst Apparently, I listened to the YA version on audiobook without realizing it. I didn't even know there was more than one version. Come to find out that authors are currently releasing versions of non-fiction books for young readers that have graphic scenes edited out. I think that's wonderful! From what I found out, the original version of this particular book was not really graphic, so much as, it contains more detailed descriptions of rowing that might be difficult for younger readers to understand. So, I feel like I got the meat and potatoes of the story and was able to read it more quickly. Very enjoyable and inspiring story. Highly recommended!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    My nine year old and I read the Young Reader's version of this book together and we both loved it! We were hooked from the very beginning and didn't want to put it down each night. Who knew that rowing could be so intense and exciting? I love that this was such an inspiring, memorable read for us to share together. I would highly recommend this and I'm picking up the adult book to read again. My nine year old and I read the Young Reader's version of this book together and we both loved it! We were hooked from the very beginning and didn't want to put it down each night. Who knew that rowing could be so intense and exciting? I love that this was such an inspiring, memorable read for us to share together. I would highly recommend this and I'm picking up the adult book to read again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett

    The Boys in the Boat is fantastic! I really did not think that I would love a book about rowing/crew as much as I did. This book really hooks the reader in with the interesting backstories of "the boys," Joe Rantz in particular. Their quest for the 1936 Olympics is fascinating as well. It's a wonderful book with a good selection of images, diagrams and timelines. The Boys in the Boat is fantastic! I really did not think that I would love a book about rowing/crew as much as I did. This book really hooks the reader in with the interesting backstories of "the boys," Joe Rantz in particular. Their quest for the 1936 Olympics is fascinating as well. It's a wonderful book with a good selection of images, diagrams and timelines.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kari Sweeten

    This is one of those books that make you want to go out, try something new, work your tail off, and succeed at anything!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joy H.

    Added 9/2/18. (Published September 8th 2015) Young Readers Adaptation from OverDrive at: https://salon.overdrive.com/media/216... ======================= "This adaptation of the adult title The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Viking, 2013) chronicles the powerful University of Washington crew team that took the gold in Berlin. The book centers on one untrained rower, Joe Rantz, who was working his way through college. The team was guided by Added 9/2/18. (Published September 8th 2015) Young Readers Adaptation from OverDrive at: https://salon.overdrive.com/media/216... ======================= "This adaptation of the adult title The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Viking, 2013) chronicles the powerful University of Washington crew team that took the gold in Berlin. The book centers on one untrained rower, Joe Rantz, who was working his way through college. The team was guided by the determined UW coach, Al Ulbrickson, whose obstacles to success were the rival rowing team from the University of California, Berkeley, and his own inconsistent rowers. Introductions to figures such as George Pocock, the team's boat builder, are fascinating, and the photos of races and the team help to build an understanding of this unique world. The descriptions of the team's trajectory and their tense races are suspenseful, and readers will be fully invested. Rantz is a relatable underdog." FROM: https://www.amazon.com/Boys-Boat-Youn... ======================== "....out of the depths of the Great Depression comes the astonishing tale of nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant. With rowers who were the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington's eight-oar crew was never expected to defeat the elite East Coast teams, yet they did, going on to shock the world by challenging the German boat rowing for Adolf Hitler. At the center of the tale is Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, whose personal quest captures the spirit of his generation—the generation that would prove in the coming years that the Nazis could not prevail over American determination and optimism." FROM: https://salon.overdrive.com/media/216... ===========================

  24. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    My friends do not know this about me, but I rowed on the youngest competing women’s crew in US on Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA in the early 70’s. I learned to row in Oakland on a barge with four oars on each side, and a coach’s walk down the middle. He shouted at us, prodded us (we were 12 and 13 years old), but still thought we had something. Later, I rowed again on community teams in Everett, WA in my twenties. The US women’s Olympic team (Seoul) trained on these same waters of the Snohomish Rive My friends do not know this about me, but I rowed on the youngest competing women’s crew in US on Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA in the early 70’s. I learned to row in Oakland on a barge with four oars on each side, and a coach’s walk down the middle. He shouted at us, prodded us (we were 12 and 13 years old), but still thought we had something. Later, I rowed again on community teams in Everett, WA in my twenties. The US women’s Olympic team (Seoul) trained on these same waters of the Snohomish River and Port Gardner Bay, just a few miles north of University of Washington. I love the sport! The author researched this story immaculately and authentically captures the exhilaration and exhaustion of a race. The details of Joe’s young life during the depression are heartbreaking, but his perseverance to succeed is an inspiration. Few of the young people I teach have developed this kind of self-reliance. They are endlessly distracted by their phones and the hectic pace of today’s culture. I work with musicians in an arts high school who come from diverse backgrounds and circumstances. Assimilating into our school culture can be a bumpy processor for some. Reading this book for the second time, I am seriously considering making this a class reading assignment. Why? Perseverance, teamwork, “mind in boat”. They are not learning this at home, so what have I got to lose? If the 1936 Olympics story interested you, another title we read in our book club was “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. Both are outstanding books - raising so many discussion points about what it takes to be a great athlete, the Nazi politics of the Berlin Olympics, etc - our book club meeting for “Boys in the Boat” is going to be great!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    “It’s not a question of whether you will hurt, or of how much you will hurt; it’s a question of what you will do, and how well you will do it, while pain has her wanton way with you.” Such an inspiring story about friendship, hard work, dedication, and perseverance. I loved it. I started reading the original book, but about 30% of the way through, I found myself checking to see how far I was way too often. I loved learning about Joe, Pocock, and the coaches’ struggles to decide on the teams, but “It’s not a question of whether you will hurt, or of how much you will hurt; it’s a question of what you will do, and how well you will do it, while pain has her wanton way with you.” Such an inspiring story about friendship, hard work, dedication, and perseverance. I loved it. I started reading the original book, but about 30% of the way through, I found myself checking to see how far I was way too often. I loved learning about Joe, Pocock, and the coaches’ struggles to decide on the teams, but the particulars of each race were too long for me. I found Joe’s upbringing so sad yet fascinating. I know it’s those experiences that helped make him such an amazing athlete. At about 48%, I decided to switch to this young readers version. I liked the faster pace of this one, but I did miss the details regarding Joe, Joyce, and his family. When I finished, I went back to the original version and skimmed what I’d missed to fill in some blanks about Joyce and Joe’s teammates. I was disappointed the book didn’t get into the backgrounds of Joe’s other teammates. I really felt a connection to Joe, and I would have liked that same connection with the others. Also, the Olympic win was no surprise and felt somewhat anti-climactic. Perhaps some background about the teams from Germany and even England would have made it a more satisfying victory.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alissa

    This book is adapted for middle grade readers from the original adult non-fiction book of the same name. I read this aloud with my 9 year old who happens to love reading non-fiction. I actually liked this version of the book even better than the original, which I read several years ago. It omits some of the repetitive elements (I remember feeling like I was getting a weather report for every single day of Joe's college rowing career) without losing the overall story at all. I do still wish we go This book is adapted for middle grade readers from the original adult non-fiction book of the same name. I read this aloud with my 9 year old who happens to love reading non-fiction. I actually liked this version of the book even better than the original, which I read several years ago. It omits some of the repetitive elements (I remember feeling like I was getting a weather report for every single day of Joe's college rowing career) without losing the overall story at all. I do still wish we got to know a few of the other rowers as well as we get to know Joe Rantz but overall I thought it was well done and it held my son's interest over the course of the month or so we took to read this. There are definitely some serious themes to contend with - Nazism, poverty, child neglect and abandonment - so I understand why it is aimed for kids slightly older than my son and parents should be prepared for questions and conversations accordingly. If you haven't rad the original yet, I'd say read this instead, with or without your children.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Connor

    The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics (adapted for young readers) is a pretty good book that grew in suspense all throughout the 227 pages. That is why I give this novel four stars. The Boys in the Boat is written by Daniel James Brown. The main theme of this book is that a team that trusts in each others’ strengths can achieve much more than one that does not. That theme is shown time and time again when Joe Rantz and crew from The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics (adapted for young readers) is a pretty good book that grew in suspense all throughout the 227 pages. That is why I give this novel four stars. The Boys in the Boat is written by Daniel James Brown. The main theme of this book is that a team that trusts in each others’ strengths can achieve much more than one that does not. That theme is shown time and time again when Joe Rantz and crew from Washington are able to overcome their fears and win the 1936 Olympic gold medal. The Boys in the Boat is a nonfiction book. It is about the life of Joe Rantz. Joe Rantz is a hard working boy born to Harry, a mechanic and tinkerer, and Nellie, a piano instructor in Spokane, Washington. Joe’s world is turned upside down when his beloved mother Nellie dies when Joe is four. Harry re-marries a woman named Thula, an aspiring musician. Thula never accepts Joe as part of the family and throws him out of the house. Finally, Joe decides he doesn’t want to be hurt again and builds himself a house in Sequim, Washington. While working outdoors, Joe saves up money for a year of school and bulks up. He enrolls at University of Washington in the Fall and already feels like a misfit. Joe works at the YMCA after class, wheres the same clothes everyday, and eats leftovers. Almost all the other students are the children of lawyers and doctors and are not being hurt by the great depression, which is hurting the rest of the world. Joe Rantz tries out for the crew team and after months of grueling practice in sleet, snow, and rain, Joe secures a spot on the team. He fluxuates among boats because sometimes he is rowing phenomenally, other times terribly. At Washington, he continues to date Joyce Simdars and likes to spend time with her between practice, work, school, and his job as a maid at a judge’s house. Finally, he finds his place on a boat with hard-working rowers who came from modest means like him. Now he feels at home. Joe’s varsity boat wins the Olympic trials and earns their spot as America’s crew. They ride over to Germany for the 1936 Olympic games. In Germany, the crew has much misfortune. They have overcome adversity before, can they do it again? My personal opinion on the book The Boys in the Boat is that the story of the Washington crew’s 1936 gold medal win is an amazing story that everyone should know about. This story has great themes that show how if you work hard, you can achieve. Also, the book shows how people can do anything if they put their mind and heart into it. It shows that not just privileged people but all people can reach their goals. The only reason I did not give The Boys in the Boat five stars was because the writing quality was not amazing. I think books are better if they sometimes let the reader draw conclusions on their own. For the most part, in The Boys in the Boat, character traits and feelings were revealed by the author directly giving them away. For example, author Daniel Brown wrote, “He already felt as if he didn’t fit in with most of the other boys on campus” (7). In my opinion, it would have been more effective if the author had said something that requires the reader to make a small inference. Also, the book did not contain as much suspense as I hoped for. For some problems, instead of a rising action, the book would just reveal a problem. Then a few pages later, the resolution would be revealed. Although there was not a ton of the rising action, the book contained great vivid imagery. Vivid imagery helped propel the the story throughout the novel. A time vivid imagery helped me connect to the book was when they described the mad dash to fund the Washington crew’s trip to Germany. and let me feel like I was there with the 1936 Olympic crew as they were rowing through the extreme exhaustion. This book is a great read for anyone who enjoys books about sports (especially crew). It is also a great read for people who like books about American history. If you don’t need a lot of rising action but love reading about vivid details, then you will probably enjoy this book. Although, if you cannot put up with the book not having enough rising action, this book is not for you. To sum up my review for The Boys in the Boat, it is a great story with okay writing which makes for a pretty good book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I am absolutely positively not interested in sports so this book has sat on my night stand for a year. Finally began to read it and was hooked. The book is about the journey in terms of personal histories of the boys-and one in particular-and their incredible ability to overcome difficult lives. Perseverance and hard work and ultimately forgiveness. Along with the wonderful character development, the background of what was happening in the US and Germany during those years was done so well. The d I am absolutely positively not interested in sports so this book has sat on my night stand for a year. Finally began to read it and was hooked. The book is about the journey in terms of personal histories of the boys-and one in particular-and their incredible ability to overcome difficult lives. Perseverance and hard work and ultimately forgiveness. Along with the wonderful character development, the background of what was happening in the US and Germany during those years was done so well. The dust bowl and depression and the New Deal were presented in a way that made you feel a part of history. The reasoning behind Germany hosting the olympics was explained as one part of Hitler's diabolical plan. It is frightening to see how methodical he was in the preparations in order to present an innocent face to the world... This is a fabulous story that I highly recommend.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy-Jo Conant

    I knew nothing about rowing. Readers will be blown away by the hardships endured. Growing up during the Great Depression is so different from anything young readers could fathom. I think those interested in rowing, Olympic stories, biographies or the great depression would enjoy this book. I would like to note that readers may feel the story slow in parts. For the non-rowing audience, it can seem redundant at times when races are described. They are described in great detail which is exciting bu I knew nothing about rowing. Readers will be blown away by the hardships endured. Growing up during the Great Depression is so different from anything young readers could fathom. I think those interested in rowing, Olympic stories, biographies or the great depression would enjoy this book. I would like to note that readers may feel the story slow in parts. For the non-rowing audience, it can seem redundant at times when races are described. They are described in great detail which is exciting but it's also very technical. You don't have to be a sports fan to appreciate this book message about perseverance in the face of adversity.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Estela Torres

    At first, I didn't really like this book because there was a lot of information and not really a story. I felt sad for Joe's childhood and his way of life. The details that the author provides really make you feel sad about the way that Joe had to live. But suddenly, there was a change in this book, it got really exciting. There was a conflict, a goal to reach. The hard work that the boys had to make every day to be able to reach that goal has encouraged me to work hard and reach my goals. This At first, I didn't really like this book because there was a lot of information and not really a story. I felt sad for Joe's childhood and his way of life. The details that the author provides really make you feel sad about the way that Joe had to live. But suddenly, there was a change in this book, it got really exciting. There was a conflict, a goal to reach. The hard work that the boys had to make every day to be able to reach that goal has encouraged me to work hard and reach my goals. This book is a real example of the benefits you get for hard work, and even though the beginning is tough, its worth the end of this story.

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