When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, college football was at the height of its popularity. As the nation geared up for war, one service branch dominated the aspirations of college football stars: the United States Marine Corps.
Which is why, on Christmas Eve 1944, when the 4th and 29th Marine regiments found themselves in the middle of the Pacific Ocean training for what would be the bloodiest battle of the war – the invasion of Okinawa – their ranks included one of the greatest pools of football talent ever assembled: former All-Americans, captains from Wisconsin and Brown and Notre Dame, and nearly 22 who were either drafted or would ultimately play in the NFL.
When the trash-talking over who had the better football team reached a fever pitch, it was decided: the regiments would play each other in the dirt of Guadalcanal. The resulting game became known as “The Mosquito Bowl.”
The Mosquito Bowl is the story of these brave young men, those who survived Okinawa and those who did not. It is the story of the families and the landscape that shaped them and of a far more innocent time in college athletics and the life of the country.
“In exploring the hearts and souls of those who risked everything for their country, Bissinger’s book defines some of the qualities that make America great — then, now and forever,” says Associated Press.