The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America

Bradford Pearson. Atria, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-982107-03-1
Journalist Pearson debuts with a novelistic account of sports glory at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. Pearson sketches the history of anti-Asian immigration policies leading up to President Roosevelt’s 1942 executive order authorizing the detainment of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast, and paints a harrowing picture of life at Heart Mountain, where detainees endured extreme temperatures, hunger, and substandard medical care. Yet more than a dozen social clubs sprouted within the camp’s first year, and Heart Mountain High School started a football team coached by a former star athlete from the University of Wyoming. Most of the boys who joined were “scrawny” and had never played the sport before, Pearson notes, yet the Eagles lost only one game in two seasons and might have won a conference championship if players from a local rival hadn’t refused to play them. Pearson intertwines play-by-play game recaps with updates on the war’s progress, biographical sketches, and rundowns on the legal battles over internment and military draft resistance by detainees. Frequent tangents interrupt the narrative momentum, yet Pearson succeeds in unearthing a feel-good story from a dark chapter in U.S. history. The result is a worthy portrait of triumph in the face of tragedy. Agent: David Patterson, Stuart Krichevsky Literary (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/19/2020
Release date: 01/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-1935-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-1937-3
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