Greenwich Reads Together
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown has been chosen for Greenwich Reads Together 2014. The title was announced on Thursday, June 5 at Greenwich Library in a ceremony attended by over 40 community members. Three thematically related companion books for younger readers were also announced. Greenwich Reads Together (GRT) is a community-wide reading experience which will engage all of Greenwich in exploring a single book. Programs will take place October 14-30.
The Boys in the Boat is the story behind one man's personal quest, and the triumph of his team, the University of Washington rowing crew, that stunned the world at Hitler's Olympics.
Gordon Adam, Chuck Day, Don Hume, George "Shorty" Hunt, Jim "Stub" McMillin, Bob Moch, Roger Morris, Joe Rantz, John White, Jr.—these were the boys in the boat, the University of Washington's 1936 crew, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans in the depths of the Depression. 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 Olympic Games in Berlin.
At the emotional heart of the story is Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in one another that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone, quite literally, pulls together—a perfect melding of trust, determination, and optimism.
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 a portrait of an era, a celebration of a historic achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man's personal quest.
Watch the book trailer here.
Daniel James Brown is the author of two previous nonfiction books and was a finalist for the B&N Discover Award for Under a Flaming Sky. The Boys in the Boat has been on bestseller lists across the country, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and NPR. Brown has taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford. He lives near Seattle.
Three companion books for younger readers were also announced: Outcasts United by Warren St. John (adult and YA versions), A Strong Right Arm by Michelle Y. Green and Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull.
Copies of all these books are available to borrow at Greenwich Library in print, audio, eBook and eAudio formats. Click here to see the full list in our catalog. They may also be purchased at local bookstores including Diane's Books.
Read the Greenwich Post's article on the event here.
Click here for details on the 2014 Greenwich Reads Together Essay Contest, open to students in grades 6-12. Two cash prizes of $350 will be awarded at the GRT closing event, and two $150 prizes for honorable mentions.
- Greenwich Library
- Greenwich Arts Council
- Greenwich Historical Society
- Greenwich Alliance for Education
- Greenwich Pen Women
- Greenwich Public Schools
- Greenwich Independent Schools
- Friends of Greenwich Library
The Boys in the Boat Links
Also by Daniel James Brown
Reading and Book Discussion Questions
Selected Further Reading & Viewing
- NY Times blog: on rowing
- Steven Bach, Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl, Knopf, 2007. The definitive biography of Leni Riefenstahl, the woman best known as "Hitler's filmmaker."
- David Halberstam, The Amateurs: the story of Four Young Men and their Quest for Olympic Gold, Ballantine Books, 1996 David Halberstam focuses on the 1984 single sculls trials in Princeton. The man who wins will gain the right to represent the United States in the 1984 Olympics.
- M.B. Roberts, Crew: The Rower's Handbook, Sterling Books, 2007
- Susan Saint Sing, The Eight: A Season in the Tradition of Harvard Crew, St. Martin's Press, 2010. Offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Harvard Crew Team's 2008 season, a year in which they vied for the national championship and one of their members won the gold in the Olympic Games, in a book that also recounts the university's storied history of accomplished rowers.
- Susan Saint Sing, The Wonder Crew: The untold story of a coach, Navy rowing, and Olympic Immortality, St. Martin's Press, 2008 Follows an early 20th century U.S. Naval Academy crew team, chronicling their defeat of Ivy League rivals, their gold-medal win at the 1920 Olympics, and their influence on the sport throughout four subsequent decades.
- Stowe, William A. All Together: The formidable journey to the Gold with the 1964 Olympic Crew, iUniverse, 2005
- Winklevoss twins' dad hopes to build rowing empire in Bridgeport, by Keila Torres Ocasio, Greenwich Time, Aug. 24, 2014
- Going for the Gold: the "48 Games, BBC, Warner Home Video, 2012 This film follows the compelling journey to the Olympic final of boatbuilder's son Bert Bushnell and Oxford-educated Richard "Dickie" Burnell. Thrown together as double sculling partners just six weeks before the games, they had to overcome vast differences in their backgrounds to become a world class rowing team on an International Olympic stage.
- The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl, Kino Video, 1988 This documentary features Interviews with Leni Riefenstahl, now in her nineties, flash- backs and modern film sequences tell the story of the most famous woman film director of all time. Known for her films made during the Third Reich, Riefenstahl's story is a controversial one.
About Greenwich Reads Together
Greenwich Reads Together is a community-wide reading experience which will engage all of Greenwich in exploring a single book. Several community organizations are part of the Steering Committee leading Greenwich Reads Together, including Greenwich Library, Greenwich Arts Council, Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich Alliance for Education, Greenwich Pen Women, Greenwich Public Schools and Independent schools, and Friends of Greenwich Library. Nearly 20 community organizations participated in the 2013 Greenwich Reads Together, and more than 3,000 Greenwich residents participated in events around When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka. The program lineup covered a wide variety of material including a visit from author Otsuka, as well as first-hand accounts of internment, traditional Japanese music and crafts, as well as a panel discussion including renowned names from news and academia. Numerous adult, children and teen book discussions were held across Greenwich.
For more information:
Previous Greenwich Reads Together Events
The Book Thief