Sunrisers Book Club reviews the story of a Gopher by Danny Spewak

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KARE11 reporter Danny Spewak follows the remarkable story of the 1941 Golden Gophers and the sacrifices made by young athletes during WWII.

MINNEAPOLIS – The title of our #Sunrisers Book Club is “From the Grill to the Battlefield: Minnesota’s March to College Football Title and to World War II” by KARE11 reporter Danny Spewak. It follows the remarkable story of the Golden Gophers from 1941 as World War II approaches.

Spewak also recounts the sacrifices made by the athletes when the team had a perfect record just 15 days before the Pearl Harbor strike. Some stayed in the United States while others went to sea and fought directly.

Gia Vang: How Danny found the time to write this book while working full time and covering some of the biggest stories in our city and state is beyond me. But it’s here for all history fans, as Danny connects the team’s incredible year to what was going on in American politics.

Always a journalist, Danny has done extensive research into what every detail of this season’s games looks like, to the point where you feel like you are there. But he also carefully crafted the scenario of the golden season, around the atmosphere that reigned in the Twin Cities at the time when war was looming.

It’s a dense read, but not too long. For history buffs who like a bit of sporty crossover, this book is for you!

Jennifer Austin: The detail of this book is remarkable. Danny even notes seemingly minor facts, like the time of sunset in the Twin Cities on the day Charles Lindbergh gave an anti-war speech in Minneapolis, which brings the reader to life in 1941.

These details, including quotes found in old newspapers, help seamlessly weave a story of the parallel between Gopher’s 1941 season and the preparation for WWII. I found it fascinating.

I don’t think you have to be a sports fan (I’m not) to enjoy this book. For any history buff, this book is one for your shelf.


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