The Boys in the Boat: Nine American and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It is the story of nine Americans beating the odds to represent their country in the 1936 Olympic Games.

9780670025817HThe name Jesse Owens is probably the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of the 1936 Olympics. Owens set amazing records during those Olympic games and his accomplishments should always be remembered. The Boys in the Boat brings to life a little known story about young men from the University of Washington and their astonishing work to win Gold in the eight-oar rowing event.

This story shows what people can achieve when they work together. The young men who represented the US were working class men that were the sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers. Some of the crew members had to work during school and take on difficult jobs during the summer, or rely on the charity of others, just to be able to pay for school. Through financial hardships, trust issues and illnesses, the crew team surprised the world.

There are some points in the book that focus on the technical elements of rowing but do not let that turn you away from reading The Boys in the Boat. I did not know anything about rowing prior to reading this book, however, now I want to learn more about the sport. The next time the summer Olympics rolls around, I’ll probably pay more attention to the rowing events.

The Boys in the Boat is a fantastic, easy read that will hopefully inspire you to take on a new challenge. This book is available for checkout at the VC/UHV Library.

Review written by Amanda B.