Mosquito Bowl : A Game of Life and Death in World War II
by Bissinger, Buzz







Author's notexi
Prefacexiii
Prologue1(12)
Part One
1 McLaughry
13(5)
2 Everybody's Watching
18(8)
3 Schreiner
26(8)
4 Butkovich
34(8)
5 Land of the Free
42(9)
6 The Army Way
51(12)
7 The Letter
63(3)
8 Murphy
66(9)
9 Odette
75(3)
10 Football Is War
78(12)
11 Separate and Unequal
90(11)
12 Remember the McKean
101(6)
13 Sunday Sheet
107(5)
14 Bauman
112(4)
15 Forget Me Not
116(5)
16 Committed to the Deep
121(26)
Part Two
17 The Patrol
147(20)
18 Pen Pal
167(7)
19 Not a Damn Thing
174(5)
20 Temptation
179(8)
21 Millimeter
187(7)
22 March of the Crabs
194(7)
23 The Mosquito Bowl
201(12)
Part Three
24 Bound for Hell
213(5)
25 Buckner
218(12)
26 April Fool
230(15)
27 Abandon Ship
245(10)
28 The Tortoise
255(4)
29 The Little Girl
259(8)
30 Return to Sender
267(3)
31 A Thousand Ants
270(13)
32 At All Costs
283(7)
33 Crazy for Revenge
290(3)
34 Carry On
293(9)
35 Last Stand
302(3)
36 Regret to Inform
305(8)
37 Why?
313(4)
38 Three Stars
317(5)
39 Counting the Days
322(2)
40 Cessation of Hostilities
324(4)
41 Silence
328(3)
Epilogue331(12)
Notes on sources343(74)
Bibliography417(40)
Acknowledgments457


This extraordinary, never-before-told story of WWII follows two U.S. Marine Corps regiments, comprised of some of the greatest football talent, as they played each other in a football game in the dirt and coral of Guadalcanal known as "The Mosquito Bowl" before they faced the darkest and deadliest days at Okinawa. 400,000 first printing. Illustrations.





*Starred Review* For two hours on Christmas Eve in December 1944, thousands of miles from home, on the island of Guadalcanal, 65 men from the 4th and 29th regiments of the 6th Marine Division, many of whom had been college football stars before the war and were seemingly headed for NFL careers, took part in a football game that allowed them to relive past glories and forget the war, if only briefly. The contest, which came to be known as the Mosquito Bowl, was fiercely competitive, with each regiment determined to best the other. The players knew they would soon see action on the battlefield, but they had no idea that they were being readied for the invasion of Okinawa, where 15 of them would die and many more would be injured. Bissinger, author of the football classic Friday Night Lights, employs the familiar narrative-nonfiction device of focusing on a few of the characters involved in a larger story and immersing the reader in their lives, sharing their thoughts, their fears, and their dreams of what their lives might be like if they were to make it home. This well-researched and impassioned book not only chronicles a little-known moment in sports history but also offers a poignant snapshot of the tragedy of war. Bissinger says of these brave men who sacrificed everything, "They deserved so much more." Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.





A uniquely focused World War II history interweaving military heroics and college football. Many books describe the consequential Battle of Okinawa in 1945, but this one deserves serious attention. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, makes good use of his sports expertise to deliver a vivid portrait of college football before and during WWII, when it was a national obsession far more popular then professional leagues. He recounts the lives and families of a group of outstanding players who made their marks before joining the Marines to endure brutal training followed by a series of island battles culminating in Okinawa, which many did not survive. The author, whose father served at Okinawa, offers illuminating diversions into Marine history, the birth of amphibious tactics between the wars (they did not exist before), the course of the Pacific war, and the often unedifying politics that guided its course. To readers expecting another paean to the Greatest Generation, Bissinger delivers several painful jolts. Often racist but ordered to accept Black recruits, Marine leaders made sure they were segregated and treated poorly. Though many of the athletes yearned to serve, some took advantage of a notorious draft-dodging institution: West Point. Eagerly welcomed by its coaching staff, which fielded the best Army teams in its history, they played throughout the war and then deliberately flunked out (thus avoiding compulsory service) in order to join the NFL. In December 1944 on Guadalcanal (conquered two years earlier), two bored Marine regiments suffered and trained for the upcoming invasion. Between them, they contained 64 former football players. Inevitably, they chose sides and played a bruising, long-remembered game, dubbed the Mosquito Bowl. In the final third of the book, Bissinger provides a capable account of the battle, a brutal slog led by an inexperienced general who vastly underestimated his job. The author emphasizes the experience and tenacity of his subjects, most of whom were among the 15 killed. College football and World War II: not an obvious combination, but Bissinger handles it brilliantly. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





A uniquely focused World War II history interweaving military heroics and college football. Many books describe the consequential Battle of Okinawa in 1945, but this one deserves serious attention. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, makes good use of his sports expertise to deliver a vivid portrait of college football before and during WWII, when it was a national obsession far more popular then professional leagues. He recounts the lives and families of a group of outstanding players who made their marks before joining the Marines to endure brutal training followed by a series of island battles culminating in Okinawa, which many did not survive. The author, whose father served at Okinawa, offers illuminating diversions into Marine history, the birth of amphibious tactics between the wars (they did not exist before), the course of the Pacific war, and the often unedifying politics that guided its course. To readers expecting another paean to the Greatest Generation, Bissinger delivers several painful jolts. Often racist but ordered to accept Black recruits, Marine leaders made sure they were segregated and treated poorly. Though many of the athletes yearned to serve, some took advantage of a notorious draft-dodging institution: West Point. Eagerly welcomed by its coaching staff, which fielded the best Army teams in its history, they played throughout the war and then deliberately flunked out (thus avoiding compulsory service) in order to join the NFL. In December 1944 on Guadalcanal (conquered two years earlier), two bored Marine regiments suffered and trained for the upcoming invasion. Between them, they contained 64 former football players. Inevitably, they chose sides and played a bruising, long-remembered game, dubbed the Mosquito Bowl. In the final third of the book, Bissinger provides a capable account of the battle, a brutal slog led by an inexperienced general who vastly underestimated his job. The author emphasizes the experience and tenacity of his subjects, most of whom were among the 15 killed. College football and World War II: not an obvious combination, but Bissinger handles it brilliantly. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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