There are few things Roman loves as much as baseball, but his country is at the top of the list. So when it looks like the United States will be swept up into World War II, he turns his back on baseball and joins the US Army.
Roman doesn't mind. As it turns out, he is far more talented with a tank than he ever was with a baseball. And he is eager to drive his tank right into the field of battle, where the Army is up against the fearsome Nazis of the Afrika Korps.
The North African terrain is like nothing Roman has ever known, and desert warfare proves brutal. As Roman drives his team deeper into disputed territory, one thing becomes very clear: Life in wartime is a whole new ball game.
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Chris Lynch is the author of numerous acclaimed books for middle-grade and teen readers, including the Cyberia series and the National Book Award finalist INEXCUSABLE. He teaches in the Lesley University creative writing MFA program, and divides his time between Massachusetts and Scotland.From School Library Journal:
Gr 8 Up—Lynch ("Vietnam" series, Scholastic) begins a new war series, this time set during World War II. Professional baseball player Roman Bucyk realizes that U.S. involvement in the current European war is imminent and decides to enlist. Roman is sent to the African front, first to Algeria and then to Tunisia, where his mediocre baseball talent takes a backseat to his earnest enthusiasm for fighting against the Nazi regime. An often overlooked portion of the war effort, the Allied battle with the German Afrika Korps is well delivered through a first-person narrative and a series of letters to Hannah, his fiancé. The letters also illustrate how the women at home, like Hannah, did their duty by serving in the Women's Army Corps and other military organizations. Roman's youthful optimism, bravado, and fear allow readers to experience a firsthand look into a soldier's life, from long days waiting for orders to the perilous battle arena. Perhaps most affecting is the portrayal of friendships with Roman's military unit, which help highlight the lifelong bonds fellow soldiers formed during and after this war.—Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI
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