The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat Summary

Soon to be a major motion picture directed by George Clooney

The #1 New York Times–bestselling story about the American Olympic rowing triumph  in Nazi Germany—from the author of Facing the Mountain.

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.

Book Reviews


Boys in the Boat5 star

Great book! Made you feel you were there in the 1930’s.55

tolaf vanvliet

Wonderful5 star

As a now 79 year old former oarsman who rowed in Pocock shells, it brought back great memories but also created a new understanding of the things that made crew something special for me.55


Inspiring Story5 star

An inspiring story of tenacity and human spirit to rise above challenges to achieve greatness.55


Wonderful Touching True Story- A Must Read5 star

As a retired history teacher, I believe this book should be required reading. It is well written and researched, but most of all it tells the stories and struggles of the eight young men who won the eight man crew race at the 1936 Olympics.55

Lita, new fan

Full of Spirit5 star

History of Americans at their best: united, strong, and endearing. God bless the oarsmen, the coaches, and the “Husky Clipper” builder.55


Boys in the boat.5 star

The Best book I have read in a long long time. Would love to see it made into a movie. ejvddcvd55

Jungle charlie

Exciting and enlightening bit of history.5 star

I became exhausted at the energy verbalized of the boat races like I had been pulling on one of the oars myself. I never thought how they could be so exciting a game a nail biting thriller. I was up at two in the morning squirming in my sheets to finish a race. Wow!55

Phillipa L

The Boys in the Boat5 star

One of the best books I have ever read. Stunning wordplay. I felt it keenly. Even my puppy was worried for me at the end, as she could sense the tension of the Olympic race and was worried for me and my tears. Just gorgeous!!55


Keeps you tuned with emotions5 star

Simple enough, beautifully written!55


Incredible5 star

This book is amazing. Low key I really hate Thula tho.55

Other Books by Daniel James Brown

The Indifferent Stars Above


The Indifferent Stars Above
4.5     456
Facing the Mountain


Facing the Mountain
4.5     252

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