DUTY, HONOR, VICTORY
AMERICA'S ATHLETES IN WORLD WAR II
by Gary Bloomfield
The Lyons Press, $29.95
It's hard to imagine Derek Jeter or Tiger Woods heading to Iraq to join the U.S. armed forces. But in World War II no American man between the ages of 20 and 45 was too big to serve—except for the basketball players who exceeded the Army's 6'6" limit for recruits, a situation illustrated in this excellent book by the tale of Harry Boykoff, a 6'9" All-America at St. John's.
Part log, part pictorial and total history lesson, this book could be sent to school with your kids and used for social studies classes. The references to Yogi Berra storming Normandy, Jack Dempsey invading Okinawa and Ted Williams maneuvering fighter planes are riveting and moving. Bloomfield also discusses the role of the black soldier during the war and the influence that had on the integration of baseball. In 1945 commissioner Happy Chandler declared, "If they [black ballplayers] can fight and die in Okinawa, Guadalcanal and in the South Pacific, they can play baseball in America."