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Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat is the kind of nonfiction book that reads like a novel. Centered around the
life of Joe Rantz—a farmboy from the Pacific Northwest who was literally abandoned as a child—and set during the Great
Depression, The Boys in the Boat is a character-driven story with a natural crescendo that will have you racing to the
finish. In 1936, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team raced its way to the Berlin Olympics for an
opportunity to challenge the greatest in the world. How this team, largely composed of rowers from “foggy coastal
villages, damp dairy farms, and smoky lumber towns all over the state,” managed to work together and sacrifice toward
their goal of defeating Hitler’s feared racers is half the story. The other half is equally fascinating, as Brown
seamlessly weaves in the story of crew itself. This is fast-paced and emotional nonfiction about determination, bonds
built by teamwork, and what it takes to achieve glory. —Chris Schluep