Book Review – The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

I just completed a few weeks of travel and spent a lot of time on planes and in airports.  Especially the day Hurricane Patricia came ashore and disrupted most flights in the western US.  I didn’t mind all that much because I got to visit with CapnRehab family members in southern and western US. Another benefit was that I got to read, read, read!  I leave out the books not worth reading, and I actually started a few and stopped after a few chapters.  Being able to check out electronic copies for free makes it real easy to stop reading a crappy book.  I tell you about only the best.  (Just for you)

Boys in the boat book cover

Boys in the boat book cover

If you decided to read “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand (perhaps because of my excellent recommendation)  and liked it, then you’ll probably like this one.

The story blends personal history and perspective with significant historical events.  The style is very readable and quite interesting.  This book was recommended to me but I didn’t think I’d be interested.  I didn’t know much about rowing and considered it a rich person’s sport.  That’s all changed for me now.  I would definitely read any other book by this Author.  That goes for Laura Hillenbrand too.

As you read you delve deep into the heart of what rowing is about, the skill, strength, stamina and guts it takes to do it.  You marvel at the hardships the main character went through growing up in the grip of the depression.  You come to admire him and the team, and what they accomplished.  This is a true Olympic journey from obscurity to world champions.

If you’re in or from the Pacific Northwest in general or Seattle in particular you’ll probably identify with the weather and the localities mentioned, but this isn’t a local story.  I’d say it’s not even an American story.  (Although this is about a US Olympic team)   This is a human story, well told and well worth reading.

A couple of side notes.  The book has two  (probably unintended) ties to “Unbroken” and Laura Hillenbrand. When talking about the nutrition program the coach has the rowers on, the author tosses out a comment about the owner of the race horse Seabiscuit hearing about it and wondering how he might change the diet to affect the race horse’s performance.  You may not know but Laura also wrote a national bestseller about SeaBiscuit.   Also, when discussing events at the 1936 Olympics in Germany, the story mentions the main character in Unbroken, the athlete Louis Zamperini.  It was interesting having already read “Unbroken” and realizing what else was in store for the future Japanese prisoner of war.

All in all, I liked the book very much.  You probably will too.


2 thoughts on “Book Review – The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

  1. I listen to a lot of audio books as I commute to and from work. This is one that I have read recently. I very much enjoyed reading this book. It was full of action, but was also very emotional. One wanted to stand up and cheer for the rowers. I couldn’t do this, as I was driving at the time. I listened to Unbroken as well by this author.

    • Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree completely that this book has so much depth to it that you do get involved in their troubles and triumphs. I can understand your wanting to stand up and cheer. Me too!

      Slight correction though, this book is by James Brown. “Unbroken” and “Seabiscuit” are by Laren Hillenbrand.

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