Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, World War II, and the Long Journey Home
Author: Gary W. Moore
Publisher: Penguin Books (2008)
Binding: Paperback, 306 pages
Part Tuesdays with Morrie, part Field of Dreams—a true American story of World War II and redemption
Driven by word of mouth and the author’s heroic efforts to tell the world his father’s story, Playing with the Enemy was a surprise hardcover hit for its independent publisher. Gary Moore’s book about his father—a baseball phenom whose future in the majors was cut short by World War II and a fateful occurrence during a top secret mission for the U.S. Navy—is a warm-hearted memoir of faded dreams and new hope that is destined for the bestseller lists. Filled with memorable characters from an extraordinary time in our country’s history, it is a truly redemptive story that will be read and reread for generations to come.
The MWSA’s Best Non-Fiction Book of 2006!
Playing With The Enemy is a moving and heart wrenching biography that is both inspiring as well as entertaining. The book is about author Gary Moore’s father; his experiences in WWII, baseball and his life. It combines powerful aspects of human nature and finding meaning to life itself.
I was greatly touched by Moore’s book, not only as a reader and a reviewer, but also as someone whose own father signed a contract with Boston to play baseball. The war and subsequent wounds and time off from organized baseball were the end of a professional career that never took off. My father was considered a top prospect as a catcher coming out of high school in San Francisco before the outbreak of WWII. So reading about the author’s tale of what happened to his own dad hit me close to home.
This is best book I have read in the last decade. It is a great story that is told with sensitivity and well constructed prose. Moore has captured the spirit and the heart of his father’s story through the use of insightful dialog that gives real understanding to the life experiences and to the people in the story. The book is alive with emotions. It grabs your heart and will not let go of it until you have fully digested the entire book; then the messages of this story still hang around and linger within your head for days.
The story is really about a personal spiritual and emotional journey – in search of the very meaning of life and what our purpose is. This book is for all readers and not just those who love baseball or have some interest in war. It has all the elements needed to make a successful and inspirational movie. The author has written a wonderful and loving tribute to his father that readers will be able to respond to.
The book also teaches us lessons about our own lives and how what we do affects others in ways we may not ever realize. His father's friendship with a Germany POW comes back later in his life to change his own emotional outlook about baseball, family and the meaning of love.
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2006)