Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

December's book club selection was a historical non-fiction.  Not a genre I gravitate to, but that is why I joined book club, isn't it?  Thing is, I did enjoy it.  Look at me, broadening my horizons or something.  It felt like American history with an NPR-like perspective and since NPR is the only news that I like, this is good.  

This is the story of the 1936 American Olympic eight man rowing team.  It tells the story of how 8 poor, working class boys fought and struggled their way to fame.  None of them ever set out for this goal, but the chain of events that led to it were interesting.  I don't know a whole lot about this period in history, I think I slept through those classes or was busy flirting with boys or passing notes.  These boys lived through the Great Depression and Dust Bowl and survived some serious hard times.  They lived in rural America and scrimped and saved to put themselves through college.  The boys from Washington State were a stark contrast to the Ivy League rowing teams that dominated the sport.  We get to see so many hardships and heartbreaking events in this book while also cheering along through some pretty impressive victories.

Though reading this would be equally good, I recommend getting the audio.  Edward Herrmann was a good choice for reading this book with his smooth voice and matter of fact way about him.  It almost made me want to learn more about American history.  I also felt like the author did a lot of research.  There were a lot of quotes from various people's personal journals and lots of technical information throughout the book.  Sometimes the technical stuff drug on a bit for my taste, but then I also saw the value of the information in the big picture.  I learned lots of things about the days leading up to World War II that I wasn't aware of.

Pick this one up, I think you will enjoy it.  It's not enough to make me want to add this genre to my regular choices, but I'm so glad that I read this one.  Another win for the book club!

What have you read lately that is outside your comfort zone?

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