The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics

adapted by Gregory Mone. 240p. chron. diag. ebook available. index. photos. Viking. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451475923.
Gr 4–7—This adaptation of the adult title The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Viking, 2013) chronicles the powerful University of Washington crew team that took the gold in Berlin. The book centers on one untrained rower, Joe Rantz, who was working his way through college. The team was guided by the determined UW coach, Al Ulbrickson, whose obstacles to success were the rival rowing team from the University of California, Berkeley, and his own inconsistent rowers. Introductions to figures such as George Pocock, the team's boat builder, are fascinating, and the photos of races and the team help to build an understanding of this unique world. The descriptions of the team's trajectory and their tense races are suspenseful, and readers will be fully invested. Rantz is a relatable underdog. However, the accounts of his struggles and triumphs come at the expense of his teammates, who are relegated to the background, existing only as sketchy, underdeveloped figures. Brown's portrayal of the Olympic games is full of thrilling details, but it's also impersonal, with little insight into the boys' thoughts, and Nazi Germany is mentioned only briefly. A "Who's Who" at the front of the book and a time line and introduction to rowing at the back are helpful and well laid out.
VERDICT Those seeking an inspiring true story or a great sports tale will be pleased with this stirring work.—Marian McLeod, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT
, Aug 01, 2015

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