The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The #1 New York Times–bestselling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany and now the inspiration for the forthcoming PBS documentary “Boys of ‘36”
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.
Astaire and Ginger Rogers, at the Orpheum. When Joyce couldn’t get away, Joe spent much of his free time at the shell house. With the competition for seats still a few weeks off, the tensions of the year before had eased some, and he enjoyed hanging around with Johnny White, Chuck Day, Roger Morris, and Shorty Hunt. They did calisthenics together, tossed a football around, took shells out for impromptu rows, and did whatever they could to avoid talking about the upcoming season. At the end of
into Cornell’s former house, a much more substantial structure on the east side of the river, right next door to the California house. As they shed their wet coats and tromped through the building, they marveled at the luxuries the new quarters afforded. There were hot showers, exercise facilities, electric lights, and a spacious dormitory, complete with extra-long beds. There was even a radio on which the boys would be able to listen to everything from baseball games to Fibber McGee and Molly to
victory or the time of 10:50 that people marveled at. It was how the boys had rowed the race. From the starting gun to the final salvo, they had rowed as if they could keep going at the same pace for another two miles or ten. They had rowed with so much composure, so “serenely” as the Times put it, so completely within themselves, that at the finish, rather than slumping in their seats and gasping for breath as oarsmen generally do at the end of a race, they had been sitting bolt upright, looking
of questions leveled at him. Royal Brougham fired the first and potentially most lethal: Had he made a critical mistake by demoting his sophomores? “No siree!” Ulbrickson boomed out. “The sophomores rowed a great race, but they would never have finished third in that varsity event. That was one of the fastest fields in the history of the regatta . . . we didn’t have the power or the poundage to beat those other fellows.” But the next morning, Brougham pointed out again in his column that “those
from the state of Washington—farm boys, fishermen, and loggers—who shocked both the rowing world and Adolf Hitler by winning the gold medal in eight-oared rowing at the 1936 Olympics. When Judy opened the door and ushered me into her cozy living room, Joe was stretched out in a recliner with his feet up, all six foot three of him. He was wearing a gray sweat suit and bright red, down-filled booties. He had a thin white beard. His skin was sallow, his eyes puffy—results of the congestive heart