Library Journal Review
Curtis (Go Long!) is familiar with both sports and history, having written for Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports among other outlets. This latest book, at least to begin with, is about college football, specifically the Rose Bowl, which has been played every year since 1902 on New Year's Day in Pasadena, CA. The game is now one of the most preeminent college football games of the year. Curtis does a fine job describing the history of the Rose Bowl through the years, including the addition of a parade. The bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 resulted in the 1942 Rose Bowl, between Oregon State and Duke University, being held in Durham, NC. Later chapters hurriedly shift from the gridiron to the battlefield, creating a close-up of the World War II battles and journeys of the players from the 1942 game. One wonders if the author chose the subject of this book because of the anomalous rescheduling of the game. Although there were heroic moments described, there is nothing distinguishing these men from anyone else from their era. VERDICT As football season fast approaches, recommend this title to college football fans who love their history. World War II buffs might not have the patience or desire to sift through the early play by play.-Keith Klang, Port Washington P.L., NY © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
In this remarkable book, Curtis masterfully connects two seemingly unrelated events: the 1942 Rose Bowl and WWII. On New Year's Day in 1942, the Rose Bowl game between Duke and Oregon State was played, not in Pasadena, California too near the West Coast but in Durham, North Carolina, thanks to lobbying efforts to save the game, led by Wallace Wade, Duke's coach. Sports Illustrated writer Curtis convincingly makes his case for the game being the greatest metaphor for American grit and determination that the country had ever seen. The story extends beyond the field to the personal lives of the players, many of whom served heroically in the war. Perhaps the most moving of the stories Curtis recounts is that of Duke player Charles Haynes, whose life was saved by Frank Parker, a former footballer at Oregon State, who rescued Haynes after a serious injury left him badly wounded on an Italian battleground. Haynes and Parker met at the game's fiftieth reunion, the first time they had seen each other since 1945. This book has much in common with Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling Unbroken (2014) and should evoke similar strong emotions.--Levine, Mark Copyright 2016 Booklist