Reading Recommendations: The Eleventh Man, a novel, Ivan Doig.
Driven by the memory of a fallen team mate, Treasure State University's 1941 startup lineup went down as legend in Montana football history, charging through the season undefeated. Two years later, the "Supreme Team" is caught up in World War II. Ten of them are scattered around the globe in the War's lonely and dangerous theaters. The eleventh man, Ben Rein King, has been plucked from pilot training by a military propaganda machine hungry for heroes. He is to chronicle the adventures of his teammates, man by man, for publication in small town newspapers across the country like the one his father edits. Ready for action, he chafes at the assignment, not knowing that it will bring him love from an unexpected quarter and test the law of averages, which holds that all but one of his team mates should come through the conflict unscathed.
And, The Given Day, a novel, Dennis Lehane.
Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, best selling author Dennis Lehane's long awaited eighth novel unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future. Filled with a cast of unforgettable characters more richly drawn than any Lehane has ever created, The Given Day tells the story of two families-one black, one white, swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants, and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power. Beat cop Danny Coughlin, the son of one of the city's most beloved and powerful police captains, joins a burgeoning union movement and the hunt for violent radicals. Luther Laurence, on the run after a deadly confrontation with a crime boss i Tulsa, works for the Coughlin family and tries desperately to find his way home to his pregnant wife.
Here too, are some of the most influential figures of the era-Babe Ruth; Eugene O'Neill; leftist activist Jack Reed; NAACP founder W.E.B. DuBois, Mitchell Palmer, Woodrow Wilson's ruthless red-chasing attorney general; cunning Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge, and an ambitious young Department of Justice lawyer named John Heover.
Coursing through some of the pivotal events of the time, including the Spanish Influenza pandemic, and culminating in the Boston Police Strike of 1919, The Given Day explores the crippling violence and irrepressible exuberance of a country at war with, and in the thrall of, itself. As Danny, Luther, and those around them struggle to define themselves in increasingly turbulent time, they gradually find family in one another and, together, ride a rising storm of hardship, deprivation, and hope that will change all their lives.
This is a 702 page book, and worth every page!
And, Florence Nightingale, The Making of an Icon, Mark Bostridge.
The common soldier's savior, the standard bearer of modern nursing, a pioneering social reformer: Florence Nightingale belongs to that select band of historical characters who were instantly recognizable. Homeschooled, bound for the life of an educated Victorian lady, Nightingale scandalized her family when she found her calling as a nurse, a thoroughly unsuitable profession for a woman of her class.
As "the lady with the lamp," ministering to the wounded and dying of the Crimean War, she offers an enduring image of sentimental appeal. Few individuals have reached in their own lifetime the level of fame and adulation attained by Nightingale as a result of her efforts. Fewer still have the power of continuing to inspire controversy the way she does almost a century after her death.
In this remarkable book, the first major biography of Florence Nightingale in more than fifty years, Mark Bostridge draws on a wealth of unpublished material, including previously unseen family papers, to throw new light on this extraordinary woman's life and character.
This book runs some 646 pages, references, etc., some 546 actual narrative. Disentangling elements of myth from the reality, Bostridge has written a vivid and immensely readable account of one of the most iconic figures in modern history.
See you at Rylander!