Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Book Review by Stephen L. Priest for “The Boys in the Boat"

“The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics”
 by Daniel James Brown.
ISBN 978-0-670-02581-7
A Number One New York Times Best Seller

I just had to read the “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown.  After taking three weeks of rowing lessons from the Lake Sunapee Rowing Club, then blog posting my rowing experiences - ROWING through the eyes of a Beginner and Lake Sunapee Rowing Club 2015 Flag Pole Race - and receiving 5 emails from friends strongly recommending the book, I felt I would be letting my readers down if I did not read this New York Times Number One non-fiction best seller.

The Boys in the Boat, documents in narration and story format how: nine college boys from the University of Washington - one coxswain and eight rowers; their coaches; and their shell designer; faced personal and political obstacles to stay in college, be on the non-scholarship rowing team, and get to the 1936 Berlin Olympics in Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

The book not only tells the story of each person, but shares the historical and political significance of Hitler’s Germany before World War 2.

Once into the book, I found myself relating to each character – and not being able to put the book down. Admittedly, I cried during the author’s Epilogue.

To entice you to read this MUST book here are few excerpts from the book: 
  • George Yeoman Pocock: “I believe I can speak authoritatively on what we may call the unseen values of rowing – the social, moral, and spiritual values of this oldest of chronicled sports in the world.  No didactic teaching will place these values in a young man’s soul.  He has to get them by his own observations and lessons.” (Chapter One page 7)
  • “Immediately after the race, even as he sat gasping for air in the Husky Clipper while it drifted down the Lager See beyond the finish line, an expansive sense of calm had enveloped him.  In the last desperate few hundred meters of the race, in the searing pain and bewildering noise of that final furious sprint, there had come a singular moment when Joe realized with startling clarity that there was nothing more he could do to win the race, beyond what he was already doing.  Except for one thing.  He could finally abandon all doubt, trust absolutely without reservation that he and the boy in front of him and the boys behind him would all do precisely what they needed to do at precisely the instant they needed to do it.  He had known in that instant that there could be no hesitation, no shred of indecision. Chapter Nineteen page 355
  • The mantra M.I.B.  “The initialization stood for “mind in boat.”  It was meant as a reminder that from the time an oarsman steps into a racing shell until the moment the boat crosses the finish line, he must keep his mind focused on what is happening inside the boat.  The whole world must shrink down to within the small gunwales…. Nothing outside the boat – not the boat in the next lane over, not the cheering of a crowd of spectators, not last night’s date – can enter the successful oarsman’s mind.”  Chapter six Page 90
  •  Official Book Trailer 
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

I hope I have enticed you enough to read this well-written historical documentary.

Rowing Blog Posts by OutdoorSteve

"Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting book to read. Thanks for the recommendation Steve!🏊🏽‍♀️🚣🏊🏻‍♂️