10 October 2015

The Boys in the Boat; Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin OlympicsThe Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since my time om the ENFYA committee, I've been on the lookout for more great non-fiction that reads like fiction, where the story is told in a way that doesn't just present the facts but also engages the emotions and while we might know what happened, we feel as though this is a fresh story. So, does this book live up to that standard? Yes. How a group of Depression Era boys became a team, and then a winning team, and then a team that beat Hitler at his Olympics is an exciting story to begin with: the descriptions of the cold, icy, pain filled practices and the competition between the boys to in the first or second boat also includes hints of how these boys became real men. At a time when the country was in shambles (the dust storm episode really brings that to light), here was something for people to hang on to and cheer about. That the author chose to follow a man whose personal story outside the sport was - to our eyes - tragic and incomprehensible adds to the sense that these are underdogs and the Olympic Gold is vindication and true triumph.

Copy provided by publisher.

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