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Book about pursuit of Olympic gold wins 2014 One Read

Daniel Boone Regional Library has announced “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown as its 2014 One Read pick.

Touted in a library press release as an “uplifting and fast-paced Cinderella story,” “The Boys in the Boat” is a non-fiction narrative that follows the tale of nine young men from the University of Washington as they row their way into the gold medal race at the 1936 Olympic games in Hitler’s Berlin.

“Even though the reader knows the outcome of the story, it is still a captivating saga of how a group of ragtag college boys rise to the challenge of being champions,” DBRL collections manager and One Read co-chair Doyne McKenzie said in the release.

During a recent meeting at the Callaway County Public Library to discuss potential programming options, McKenzie added that one of the biggest draws for the book is “the idea of these kids getting in a boat and becoming more than themselves.”

“It’s non-fiction, but it will captivate people who read fiction as well,” McKenzie said.

That meeting included pointing out at least one obvious local connection for Callaway readers: The 1936 Berlin Olympics are when Helen Stephens, aka the “Fulton Flash,” won her two gold medals — setting a record in the 100 meter dash that held for almost 30 years.

Other subjects/themes addressed in the book include 1930s America, propaganda and film, the psychology of team athletics and East Coast/West Coast rivalries.

“We’ve talked about a number of different related topics for our fall programming, such as the Depression, Hitler’s Germany, boat making, teamwork, and local Olympians” said Lauren Williams, One Read co-chair and DBRL librarian.

Copies of “The Boys in the Boat” are available at all DBRL library locations as well as local book sellers such as Well Read Books in Fulton.

Area readers will have the summer to read the book before programming is announced — usually in August. For more information, visit the One Read website at www.oneread.dbrl.org.

Katherine Cummins can be reached at (573) 826-2418 or katherine@fultonsun.com.

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