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Revisiting 'The Boys In The Boat' On Wednesday's Access Utah

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Daniel James Brown’s bestseller The Boys in the Boat is a story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.

The Boys in the Boat was selected for 2018's USU Common Literature Experience for incoming students and the community. The Boys in the Boat was the inspiration for the documentary film The Boys of ‘36 which aired on PBS.

Daniel James Brown is the author of The Indifferent Stars Above and Under a Flaming Sky, which was a finalist for the B&N Discover Great New Writers Award, as well as The Boys in the Boat, a New York Times bestselling book that was awarded the ALA’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. He has taught writing at San José State University and Stanford University. He lives outside Seattle.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.