Daniel James Brown biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown Biography

Daniel James Brown grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Diablo Valley College, the University of California at Berkeley, and UCLA. He taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford before becoming a technical writer and editor.

Brown now writes narrative nonfiction books full time. His primary interest as a writer is in bringing compelling historical events to life as vividly and accurately as possible.

Brown lives in the country outside of Seattle, Washington with his wife, two daughters, and an assortment of cats, dogs, chickens, and honeybees. When he is not writing, he is likely to be birding, gardening, fly fishing, reading American history, or chasing bears away from the bee hives.



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Interview

A Conversation With Daniel James Brown about The Boys in the Boat, the award-winning and bestselling tale of Joe Rantz and the 1936 Olympic eight-oar crew from the University of Washington.

Q. How did you discover the story that became The Boys in the Boat?

A: One day about six years ago, my neighbor, a lady in her midsixties whom I knew only as Judy, came up to me after a homeowners' association meeting. She said her father, who was in the last weeks of his life and under hospice care at her house, was reading one of my earlier books. He was enjoying it and she wondered if I would come by to meet him. Of course I said yes. A few days later I sat down with her father, Joe Rantz, and after a while the conversation turned first to his experiences growing up during the Great Depression and then to his experiences rowing for a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics.

As I talked with Joe, I noted that tears came readily to his eyes at certain junctures. Men of his generation don't generally cry easily, so I knew immediately that there was something extraordinary going on. As he unfolded more of his story to me, I began to see that all the elements of a great tale were there—intense competition among individuals, bitter rivalries between schools, a boy left alone in the world, a fiercely demanding coach, a wise mentor, a love interest, even an evil stepmother. But I think what really ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Daniel James Brown at BookBrowse
The Boys in the Boat jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Daniel James Brown but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Julie Checkoway

    Julie Checkoway

    Julie Checkoway is an author and documentary filmmaker. She graduated from Harvard College, the Iowa Writers Workshop, and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Boys in the Boat

    Try:
    The Three-Year Swim Club
    by Julie Checkoway

  • Joshua Davis

    Joshua Davis

    Joshua Davis is a contributing editor at Wired, cofounder of Epic magazine, and the author of The Underdog, a memoir about his experiences as an arm wrestler, backward runner, and matador. In 2014, he was nominated for a ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Boys in the Boat

    Try:
    Spare Parts
    by Joshua Davis

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