For those of us hooked on e-books it’s not easy to get a best seller through the Download Zone. Those titles are hot commodities. But just because we have to wait doesn’t mean that good books aren’t available. I’ve had plenty of luck finding a “diamond in the rough” when I’m going on vacation and don’t want to lug a heavy book around.
I’ve always had an interest in the homefront during World War II. When I stumbled onto an e-book about that era that also covered college football I figured it was a win-win situation. The book, “A Team for America: The Army-Navy Game That Rallied a Nation,” by Randy Roberts, focuses on the two academies’ football game in 1944. I admit the idea of reading a book about one college football game didn’t sound too appealing but I decided to give it a try. It turns out I couldn’t put the book down.
“A Team for America” is much less about a football game than it is about a slice of Americana that most people don’t know about. Unless you lived through World War II you probably don’t know the nuances of life on the homefront. Rationing was everywhere. People had to discover clever ways to make food, coffee, gasoline, and precious materials last or otherwise develop alternatives.
Citizens who sacrificed also needed diversions from the war effort. That’s where college football came in. Many in the government thought it was frivolous to play a sport while we were sending young men to fight overseas. Many colleges did in fact suspend their football programs during the war. However, between the military training programs that were popping up at different universities and the thirst for the college game it became impossible for it to be short-circuited even during wartime. If baseball could continue then so could college football.