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Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams Hardcover – September 15, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 194 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In 1940, at just 15 years old, small-town baseball star Gene Moore was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who saw in him the potential to become one of the great catchers of all time. Before that could happen, though, WWII intervened. Gene's story, a surprising paean to the power and humanity of a game, is told here by his son, a first-time author who exhibits the confidence and pacing of a pro. His gripping material certainly helps: after several years overseas in the Navy's touring baseball team, Gene was brought back to Louisiana and assigned to guard secret German POWs, whose U-boat was captured just days before the storming of Normandy. There, Gene teaches his German captives how to play baseball, with a number of unintended and life-altering consequences. When Gene's finally able to return home to Sesser, Ill., he's "on crutches, depressed and embarrassed," holing up in the local bar and prompting one bartender to lament, "he's become one of us, when we were hoping he would make us like him." Gene's journey from promise to despair and back again, set against a long war and an even longer post-war recovery, retains every bit of its vitality and relevance, a 20th-century epic that demonstrates how, sometimes, letting go of a dream is the only way to discover one's great fortune.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gene Moore, from tiny Sesser, Illinois, was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers at age 15 in 1940. After Pearl Harbor, the Dodgers arranged for him to be a member of a traveling U.S. Navy baseball team to entertain troops in the European theater. Eventually, the team was assigned stateside to guard a select group of German prisoners in Louisiana. The Germans had been captured when their submarine, the U-505 (now a featured attraction at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry), experienced mechanical problems in the vicinity of Allied warships. The story of the relationship that developed between the prisoners and their guards is a fascinating one. Because the Allies captured key code-breaking information with the sub, the existence of the prisoners was kept secret. Author Moore, son of Gene, also tells the heartbreaking story of how his father tried to recapture his major-league dream after the war but did not succeed. A moving profile of one, nearly unknown member of the Greatest Generation. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie; First Edition edition (September 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932714243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932714241
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,716,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"America's Storyteller!"

Gary W. Moore is known worldwide as an inspirational and motivational speaker of choice, successful entrepreneur, accomplished musician and award winning and critically acclaimed author.

As author of Playing with the Enemy, Gary tells the story of his father, Gene Moore and his remarkable life in baseball and war. Playing with the Enemy is inspiring readers around the globe and will soon be a major motion picture www.playingwiththeenemy.com.

In Hey Buddy: In Pursuit of Buddy Holly, My New Buddy John and My Lost Decade of Music, Gary chronicles his journey to learn more about the late, great Buddy Holly www.heybuddybook.com.

Gary is also a contributing author to the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series and author of three upcoming books, Brimstone: The Dee Harper Story, Carbon Hill and The Final Service.

Gary has been featured in publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Selling Power Magazine, Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, Impromptu Magazine and Southwest Airlines' Spirit Magazine, and has appeared on CNN, CNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox.

Gary is a recipient of the prestigious Sam Walton Leadership Award and because of his unique speaking and writing style, has become known as "America's Storyteller!"™

www.garywmoore.com

Literary Awards:

AWARDS

Playing with the Enemy ...
2006 Military Writers Society of America Nonfiction Book of the Year
2010 Jerome Holtzman Award for Excellence in Baseball Writing (Chicago Baseball Museum)

Hey Buddy ...
2011 Indie Next Generation Award Finalist Nonfiction
2011 Indie Next Generation Award Finalist Memoir

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The first question is "Who will like this book?"

Those most likely to enjoy this book would be:
1) A child who has affection and appreciation for his/her father;
2) A father who receives this book from his son/daughter/grandchild;
3) A child or grandchild of a World War II veteran;
4) An American veteran;
5) A fan of American military history; or
6) A fan of baseball history.

While others may certainly enjoy this book as well, I pick these 6 groups because the story is a unique tribute to those who belong to one or more of them. If you belong to one of these groups, this story will absorb you from the first chapter until you close the last page.

The second question is "What will I get out of reading this book?"

When you set this book down, you will have appreciation for:
1) The gallant call to duty of "The Greatest Generation";
2) Honest, unapologetic love of a son for his father;
3) Life's unpredictable -- but seemingly purposeful -- curve balls;
4) Every person's ability to create second chances in life; and
5) Some special shared experiences that are uniquely American.

I can't think of a better use of one's time, or a better gift for someone that means something to you. Enjoy it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here is a baseball and World War II story that brings an extraordinary time in our country's history alive, along with the people who made it fascinating. You will laugh and cry, and never forget it. History, after all,is about the people who lived it.

Even though the country had suffered through the Great Depression, and the coal mine just wasn't producing much anymore, the tiny town of Sesser, Illinois did have a town baseball team called the Sesser Egyptians. Gene Moore was a fifteen-year-old farm boy living there and helping out on the family farm. He was also the best catcher anyone had ever seen; he could throw men out from any position, not a ball ever got past him, and he could hit the ball farther than anyone else. Gene had a talent for controlling the game and even the older men followed his lead without question. When you are that good, word gets around, and the Brooklyn Dodgers sent a scout to take a look at Gene.

He had signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers; but when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, he decided to do his duty and join the Navy. He was only seventeen years old. Gene was sent to play ball with a Navy team to entertain the troops in the Azores and North Africa. Then he and the other team members were sent on a special, top-secret mission to guard a group of German submarine sailors from the captured U-505 in Louisiana. Baseball was still the primary thing on Gene's mind, and since there weren't enough guys to make up a game, Gene convinced his commander to allow him to teach the enemy how to play baseball while he and his teammates waited for the war to end. They all hoped to be called up into the Major Leagues. Unfortunately, his destiny took a drastic change during the last game.
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Format: Hardcover
The story of Gene Moore's life would never have made a good book. Not that he, as a family man and self-made business owner, wasn't a dynamic and interesting person; it's just that he was a middle America Everyman who came into adulthood as World War II ended.

That's probably how Gary Moore, sone of Gene and author of the book Playing With The Enemy, probably would have believed . . . before. Before he found an old letter addressed to his father. Before he wouldn't take no for an answer, this time, when asking his father about his past life one night over dinner.

That night Gary Moore was able to crack his father's hard exterior, and the story of Gene's youth poured out of him. I can only imagine what it must have been like to hear it for the first time, as the son. It's the stuff movies are made of, and I hear a major motion picture is in the works for Playing With The Enemy.

No matter who they get to play Gene, the two undeniable stars of the story are the game of baseball and World War II. It's a surprising but unbeatable combination, and when you add in the tantalizing fact of a secret mission, the tale gets even juicier. I won't spoil the story for you, although if you pick up the book you can learn far more than this just by reading the flaps and reviews. Suffice it to say that Gene was an extremely talented, likeable young man in an extraordinary situation who was tested, who failed, and who ultimately succeeded in human terms.

Gene Moore's story is compelling because it's true, and the fact that his son Gary coaxed it out of him 24 hours before Gene died makes it seem very "Hollywood" indeed. But don't be fooled -- this is not the story of a superhero, so don't look for that.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book, and like many others, I too finished it in a few short sittings. I felt that it was a touching story -- a very nice way for a son to pay tribute to his father. And on that basis, I would recommend Playing With the Enemy as a "feel good" read. My criticism of the book is this -- often I found it difficut to separate fact from fiction, and in the end I felt that there was more fiction than fact. Read the book for what it is -- a tribute from son to father, and, as Jim Morris writes in the Foreward, a lesson on life: "Sometimes we go through life feeling sorry for oursevles and feeling like victims. I did that, and so did Gene Moore. We've all been down on the floor, drowning in our sorrows. Second chances in life, however, are often about self-sacrifice: you always have to remember that it's not all about you."
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