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.
The prolific Lynch follows his Vietnam series of novels (including I Pledge Allegiance and, most recently, Casualties of War) with one set during WWII. This first book follows Roman Bucyk, a minor league baseball star who enlists in the U.S. Army in 1941, where he discovers a talent as a tank driver. As Roman's journey takes him from the last baseball game of the season through training and finally being sent overseas, he witnesses and reflects on the horror of war and the righteousness of taking the fight to the Nazis. As the campaign in North Africa intensifies, Roman's newfound bond with the rest of his tank crew is tested, as is his relationship with his fianc e, Hannah, back home. Lynch doesn't pull any punches in this slim but powerful volume, chronicling Roman's exploits with an almost dreamlike sense of atmosphere, coupled with a keen ear for dialogue and intense battle scenes. Though aimed at younger readers, Lynch doesn't write down, instead offering a powerful taste of war on a personal level. Ages 10 14.