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Duty, Honor, Victory: America's Athletes in World War II

1 rating: 1.0
A book by Gary L. Bloomfield

The story of the Hollywood giants who served in World War II is well known. Less familiar is the story of the athletes who traded one uniform for another: baseball pitcher Bob Feller, who served aboard the USSAlabama; boxer Gene Tunney, who fought in … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Gary L. Bloomfield
Publisher: The Lyons Press
1 review about Duty, Honor, Victory: America's Athletes...

Textbook approach

  • Nov 22, 2009
Textbook approach to the topic, reads like a high-school textbook on World War II that stirs in references and anecdotes to combatants athletic exploits before, during, and after the war. Bloomfield's research is extensive, backed up by a 16-page bibliography, but his organization of the material could have been better. The basic chapter structure follows the chronology of the war, starting with the 1936 Berlin Olympics where the "Black Auxiliaries"--lead by Jessie Owens--demonstrated the falsehood of Hitler's Aryan dream to the world, through to the end of the war in Europe, the South Pacific, and finally Japan, with a brief recap of the impact of injuries and age on the athletes attempting to return to their sport. Interspersed are sidebars that cover the major team and individual sports (every arena of sport, including those least martial of pursuits golf and tennis, contributed soldiers, leaders, and time and money to the war effort). The result is that many names and anecdotes are repeated two and and even three times in the course of the book.

In the end, Bloomfield would have been better served to have spent more time synthesizing the material to focus less on the chronology of the war (it is available elsewhere for those who want it) and more on following the stories of the athletes before, during, and after the war. More narrative on the total numbers of athletes involved, how their sport survived the war, and how the sport recovered or adapted in the years after the war would have been nice, too.

But Duty, Honor, Victory compensates for these failings with good pictures and its encyclopedic approach to the topic.

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