The Boys In The Boat

Daniel James Brown

2013 Nominee

William Hill Sports Book of the Year

2014 Nominee

James Tait Black Prize for Biography

02 January 2014
416 pages


The inspiration for the major film of the same name directed by George Clooney, this is the bestselling story about a rowing team's quest for Olympic gold in Nazi Germany.

'A moving, enlightening and gripping tale' - Financial Times

Cast aside by his family at an early age, abandoned and left to fend for himself in the woods of Washington State, young Joe Rantz turns to rowing as a way of escaping his past.

What follows is an extraordinary journey, as Joe and eight other working-class boys exchange the sweat and dust of life in 1930s America for the promise of glory at the heart of Hitler’s Berlin. Stroke by stroke, a remarkable young man strives to regain his shattered self-regard, to dare again to trust in others – and to find his way back home.

Told against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Daniel James Brown's The Boys in the Boat is narrative non-fiction of the first order; a personal story full of lyricism and unexpected beauty that rises above the grand sweep of history, and captures instead the purest essence of what it means to be alive.

‘I really can't rave enough about this book . . . I read the last fifty pages with white knuckles, and the last twenty-five with tears in my eyes’ – David Laskin, author of The Children's Blizzard and The Long Way Home.

Chariots of Fire – with oars [Brown’s] descriptions of the key races are exciting and dramatic, and it is impossible not to get wrapped up in the emotion
Like Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Michael Lewis’s Moneyball before it, The Boys in the Boat has all the ingredients for a film adaptation . . . a moving, enlightening and gripping tale.
Daniel James Brown has written a robust, emotional snapshot of an era, a book you will recommend to your best friends.