Synopses & Reviews
There never has been a sports event, perhaps never an event of any kind, that received the attention of so many Americans in so many places around the world.andrdquo; So wrote a reporter on December 2, 1944, about the greatest Army- Navy football game in the long history of that storied rivalry. World War II raged in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific; President Roosevelt was seriously ill, and just a few short months from his death; Americans on the home front suffered through shortages, including a Thanksgiving without turkey or pie just days earlier. But for one day, all that was forgotten.
Armyandrsquo;s team was ranked number 1; Navy, number 2. Armyandrsquo;s years of football misery had been lifted by a wartime team and a brilliant coach that made them a contender, and if they beat Navy on that day, they would be national champions. Around the world, the war stopped as soldiers listened to a broadcast of the game. Everyone everywhere forgot everything for a few short hours.
Randy Roberts has interviewed surviving players and coaches for nearly a decade to bring to life one of the most memorable stories in all of American sports. For three years, Army football upperclassmen graduated and joined the fight, from Normandy beaches to Pacific atolls. For three hours, their alma mater gave them back one unforgettable performance.
Desperately fought on the morning of October 25, 1944, the Battle of Samar was an upset victory won by American warships fighting a battle they were never supposed to fight. Filled with riveting details, this is war at sea as it has seldom been presented before.
“This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”
With these words, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland addressed the crew of the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts on the morning of October 25, 1944, off the Philippine Island of Samar. On the horizon loomed the mightiest ships of the Japanese navy, a massive fleet that represented the last hope of a staggering empire. All that stood between it and Douglas MacArthurs vulnerable invasion force were the Roberts and the other small ships of a tiny American flotilla poised to charge into history.
In the tradition of the #1 New York Times bestseller Flags of Our Fathers, James D. Hornfischer paints an unprecedented portrait of the Battle of Samar, a naval engagement unlike any other in U.S. history—and captures with unforgettable intensity the men, the strategies, and the sacrifices that turned certain defeat into a legendary victory.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
RANDY ROBERTS is a Distinguished Professor of History at Purdue University.andnbsp;His previous books include John Wayne:andnbsp;American(coauthored with James Olson), Joe Louis:andnbsp;Hard Times Man, and Papa Jack:andnbsp;Jack Johnson and the Era of White Hopesamong others.andnbsp;andnbsp;