The Eleventh Man



Author: Ivan Doig

Title: The Eleventh Man

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 402

Geographical Setting: Montana, World War II war zones

Time Period: World War II, 1939-1945

Plot Summary:  In 1941, Ben Reinking was a part of an undefeated college football team that went down as a part of  Montana history.  Two years later, the team is scattered across war zones and Ben has been pulled from pilot training school to take on a special assignment.  It is his job to report on his ten teammates’ war time experiences for home-front newspapers.  Ben is frustrated to have been taken out of the action.  He grows even more rankled as he tries to write true accounts of the war he witnesses and the tragedies that befall his teammates only to have them edited and censored before they hit the papers.  This is a war story that delves more into the characters and their struggles and sacrifices than it does action on the battlefield.

Subject Headings:  Ex-football players Fiction, World War, 1939-1945 Fiction, Montana Fiction, War Stories Fiction

 Appeal: unhurried, moving, romantic, well-crafted, layered story line, well-researched, accurate, lyrical, thoughtful,

 3 terms that best describe this book:  strong sense of place, detailed historic setting, character-driven

 3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagles’ Nest by Stephen E. Ambrose, chronicles the history of the 101st Airbone unit in WW II, well-researched, moving, well-crafted

The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-Maker from the Crimea to Iraq by Phillip Knightly, chronicles the history of war journalism, deals with issues of censorship, propaganda and journalistic responsibility

A WASP among Eagles: A Woman Military Test Pilot in World War II, by Ann B. Carl, this memoir about a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot) tells the story of the little-mentioned women who flew military aircraft during World War II; these women were a side story in the novel

 3 Relevant Fiction Works

The Great World by David Malouf, both novels are character-driven and lyrical war stories set during World War II

Heart Mountain by Gretel Ehrlich, this novel has a strong sense of place; set in Wyoming during WW II, written with descriptive simplicity, focus on the home-front and the War’s impact on its community

Skeletons at the Feast by Christopher Bohjalian, another character-driven World War II story, the haunting tale of European refugees brings focus to another element of the War

Katie LaFramboise


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