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The Real Heroes A compelling look at the athletes who went to battle in World War II

Nov. 24, 2003
Nov. 24, 2003

Table of Contents
Nov. 24, 2003

College Basketball Preview 2003-04

The Real Heroes A compelling look at the athletes who went to battle in World War II

DUTY, HONOR, VICTORY
AMERICA'S ATHLETES IN WORLD WAR II
by Gary Bloomfield
The Lyons Press, $29.95

This is an article from the Nov. 24, 2003 issue Original Layout

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."

--Lisa Altobelli

COLOR PHOTO: THE LYONS PRESS