The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II

Harper: HarperCollins. Sept. 2022. 480p. ISBN 9780062879929. $32.50. MILITARY HISTORY
Football is war. That is mainly what Bissinger (Friday Night Lights) reminds readers of in his new account of a forgotten moment during World War II. The Mosquito Bowl was a Christmas Eve football game between two regiments of the U.S. Marine Corps that happened in 1944. Of the 65 marines that played that day, 20 men were or would be drafted by the NFL. Within months, 15 of the players would lose their lives during the invasion of Okinawa. Twenty others would be wounded. The author takes readers onto the battlefield the same way he previously took them onto the gridiron. He introduces the men who led the fighting, both on the field and in the Pacific Theater, before creating a compelling narrative of a marine’s life in Guadalcanal and during the invasion of Okinawa. Fans of Bissinger’s previous books will find a rich character-driven narrative about two of the dirtiest and deadliest battlefields of World War II.
VERDICT Bissinger has found a way to merge sports with World War II to give readers a heartbreaking narrative of what many young men went through in the last days of World War II. Highly recommended.
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