“It’s a great art, is rowing. It’s the finest art there is. It’s a symphony of motion.”

boysintheboatBrown Baggers met on August 18 to discuss the nonfiction book The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown. This story follows the experience of the 1936 Olympic champion eight-man rowing team, especially rower Joe Rantz. While readers enjoyed the story of underdogs winning it all some felt it was too long and included too many extraneous details. Those who disagreed felt Brown was able to write a book that read like a novel, and found those extra tidbits of information useful – especially when unfamiliar with the world of competitive rowing. In that instance it helped them look at crew differently and understand just why it is so difficult as well as why it was as popular as it was at that time. What impressed readers the most was the resilience of the main characters, who had to overcome many disadvantages just to compete, let alone win. Readers appreciated the more personalized account of growing up in the depression that Joe’s story presented although they did find it heartbreaking. It was a fitting read heading into the 2016 Summer Olympics which had plenty of against the odds stories as well.

More Information
American Experience Boys of ’36 film
Author interview
Author book reading video

Suggested Books
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
In The Garden of  Beasts by Erik Larsen
Nazi Games by David Clay Large
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

Brown Baggers will meet again on September 15 at noon to discuss King, Queen, Knave by Vladimir Nabokov.

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