Daniel James Brown tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. Brown happened on this little-known piece of history while visiting his dying neighbor Joe Rantz, one of the crew members. Drawing on the boys' own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream The Boys in the Boat is about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times.
Daniel James Brown is the author of two previous nonfiction books, including Under a Flaming Sky. He has taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford. (www.danieljamesbrown.com)