cover image A Civil War

A Civil War

John Feinstein. Little Brown and Company, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-316-27736-5

Although neither Army nor Navy is a college football power anymore, their annual rivalry still attracts national attention, and the game between the two service academies is the most important contest for both schools every season. In chronicling the 1995 game (the 96th meeting between the two teams), Feinstein (A Good Walk Spoiled) provides readers with a comprehensive backdrop to the game by recounting the events leading up to Army vs. Navy. Given almost unlimited access to the players and coaches, Feinstein does a superb job of capturing the emotional and physical impact the long season has on the team members of both sides, while also giving a taste of what life is like at Annapolis and West Point. Feinstein focuses his story by concentrating on a number of players at the two schools, providing brief backgrounds and their reasons for attending the academies. Among the players featured are Army's Jim Cantelupe and the offensive linemen nicknamed ""The Fat Men,"" as well as Navy's Andrew Thompson and Chris McCoy. Providing an extra touch of drama is the fact that 1995 was the last year of Army coach Bob Sutton's contract, and his future at the school would be determined by the Cadets' performance in the Navy game. It is to Feinstein's credit that, although the outcome is already in the history books, he builds a sense of excitement and anticipation throughout the book about what would happen in the contest. (Army won.) (Nov.)