Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams

Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams

by Gary W. Moore, Jim Morris

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A memoir of fathers and sons, baseball, a world at war, and second chances. “I loved [it]. You will, too” (Jim Morris, author of The Oldest Rookie).
Gene Moore was a small-town Illinois farm boy whose passion for “America’s Pastime” made him a local legend. It wasn’t long before word spread, and the Brooklyn Dodgers came calling on the teenage phenom who could hit a ball a country mile. Headed for stardom, and his dream within reach, Gene’s future in the majors was cut short by World War II. In 1944, after joining the US Navy, Gene found himself on a top-secret mission: guarding German sailors captured from U-505, a submarine carrying one of the infamous Enigma decoders. Stuck with guard duty, he decided to bide the time by doing what he loved. Gene taught the POWs how to play baseball. It was a decision that would change Gene’s life forever.
The story of a remarkable man told by his inspired son, “Gene’s journey from promise to despair and back again, set against a long war and an even longer post-war recovery . . . [is] a 20th-century epic that demonstrates how, sometimes, letting go of a dream is the only way to discover one’s great fortune” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611210200
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Publication date: 09/15/2006
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 331
Sales rank: 176,054
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Gary W. Moore is the president and managing partner of Covenant Air & Water, LLC, a motivational speaker, and an accomplished musician. Gene Moore was his father. Gary lives in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Read an Excerpt


The Letter

How would I do it?

How could I ever make the leap from the chair I was in onto the speaker's platform? The thought coursed through my mind as I sat in the sales meeting, listening to the president and owner of the company. He was dynamic, charismatic, and everyone loved him.

Me? I was young then — a bit reserved, very insecure, and in total awe of the man I intently watched and listened to as he addressed us from the platform at the front of the room. He had the leadership qualities I could only dream I might one day possess. I hung on his every word, every syllable, even though I had heard it in one form or another from this man my entire life.

Gene Moore spoke with an animated, passionate style. He talked about the highest levels of achievement and made the group of thirty sales people assembled at the Chicago Heights branch of Moore Industries, Inc., want to sell and excel with passion. He brought out the best in each of us. We wanted to perform for him. We wanted to be like him. We all yearned for a pat on the back or a wink from his smiling face telling us, "good job" or "way to go." He made us believe that what we did was important, admirable, and honorable, even though what we did was sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door. Gene Moore made us believe what we did would change the world. It certainly changed our worlds. Many of those in his audience went on to achieve levels of success with Filter Queen or in other chosen professions. Most would attribute some or all of their success to the time they spent working with this man. "There is just something special about him" was a phrase heard over and over again.

As Gene was beginning to wind down his motivational talk he raised his arms in excitement — and then suddenly stopped. His eyes sought me out. "Gary take it from here," he said calmly, a small smile on his face. And then he walked out of the room. Although unusual, Gene was prone to theatrics, so I jumped up from my chair and tried to pick up where he left off, which was an insurmountable task.

Once the meeting ended a young salesman named Ed walked up to me and said something I would never forget. "What happened to Gene?" he asked.

"Nothing," I replied.

"Didn't look like nothing to me," continued Ed, his voice softer now, almost a whisper. A dark look of concern had crossed his face.

"What?" I asked. "What are you talking about?"

"When he walked out of the meeting, he stepped into the next room, doubled over, and was holding his left arm." The words sent a chill through me I still feel to this day.

I ran to the door, threw it open, and looked outside, but his gray Cadillac was gone. A glance at my watch told me the meeting had continued almost forty-five minutes after Gene had left. I stepped toward the phone to call our headquarters in Bradley, Illinois, which I assumed was Gene's destination. Before I could dial the phone number, a secretary tapped my shoulder, "Gary, your mom's on the line. She sounds real upset."

I stepped into the closest room and picked up the phone. Judy Moore was crying on the other end. "Why did you let your father drive home when he was having a heart attack?"

"A heart attack! Mom, is he okay? Where is he?"

I listened just long enough to hear her answer before dropping the phone and running to my car to speed to Riverside Hospital in Kankakee. It was normally a thirty-minute drive, but I made it in record time.

When I arrived in the emergency room the first thing I heard was laughter. Puzzled, I edged my way past bustling nurses and small knots of strangers before coming to a stop next to a curtained-off area. I slowly pulled the curtain back to find Gene sitting up on the edge of the bed. Around him were several nurses and an emergency room doctor laughing at something he had just said. As usual, Gene controlled the room and everyone in it.

My sister Debbie was there too, her eyes swollen from crying. My mother was standing next to her husband's side, rubbing his shoulder and holding back the tears. A few moments later my youngest sister Kim and her new husband Keith rushed into the emergency room.

"Calm down," Gene commanded with a sturdy laugh. "It's a false alarm. You're not getting rid of me this easy," a comment that brought more laughter from the hospital staff, but only concerned looks from his family members.

Until that moment it had never occurred to me that my mentor, my employer, and my father, all one and the same, would ever die. He was only 57, and he had always seemed indestructible.

While Gene was sharing a story with the nurses, Doctor Burnett, our family physician, arrived with what he claimed was good news. "I don't think Gene had a heart attack. He only suffered from a little overexertion. We're going to keep him overnight for observation and send him home tomorrow." The doctor also told us he would set up a round of tests with a heart specialist in Chicago. "You folks go home now and don't worry any longer about this. Gene is going to be fine."

The next day Gene took a stress test, passed, and was released. As was his nature, he walked out of the hospital and went straight to work. It was April 29, 1983.

The test with the heart specialist was eventually scheduled for Thursday, May 12, at St Luke's Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago. Our appointment was at 4:00 p.m., and my mother insisted I go along. She was afraid Gene might not tell her if the news wasn't good. I agreed, and my dad and I drove to the hospital together. The specialist agreed with Dr. Burnett: he was certain Gene did not have a heart attack. In fact, he told us Gene was in great shape and we had nothing to worry about.

As we pulled out of the parking garage, a giant weight lifted from our shoulders. I suggested we go to the George Diamond Steak House and celebrate. As we made the drive from the hospital, I thought about the feelings and anxiety I had experienced over the past few weeks worrying about my father's health. Since it would just be the two of us at dinner, I started assembling in my mind the questions I wanted my dad to answer. There were a lot of things I wanted to ask him and never had. Now was the time.

We sat down at a small corner table, he on one side and me on the other. I knew there would not be a better time, so I began:

"Dad, I have a question for you."

He just looked at me and smiled.

"You've been a wonderful father. You've always supported all of us in any and every way. We were never left wanting anything, and you never missed anything we did — drum & bugle corps, band, you were always there."

A warm smile spread across my dad's face. "I wouldn't have missed any of it for anything."

I took a deep breath, held it a second, and slowly exhaled. "But ... you never came to any of my baseball games and you would never play catch with me." I paused and watched his smile dissipate. "Why?"

"Baseball is not important. It's just a game." His voice was low, measured, steady. He turned to find our waitress and place our order. It was obvious he didn't want to discuss it.

"I know baseball is not important in the grand scheme of things. But neither is drum & bugle corps, or band, or much of anything else I did. But you always came to see anything and everything — everything, that is, except my baseball games."

Dad held my eye but did not respond.

"Tell me about that letter, dad."

"What letter?"

"You know what letter. The letter from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The letter that said you were to report to Greenville, Mississippi, in 1949." I paused again to give him time to respond, but he just looked away into the distance as if studying something on the horizon no one else could see.

I knew I was pushing things, but I had to know. "You must have been pretty good. They don't send letters like that to everyone. Did you go?" I asked.

Dad shrugged before lifting his water glass to his lips. "Your mom is going to be relieved when we tell her what the doctor said."

"Dad! Why won't you talk to me about this?"

"Because it doesn't matter. It means nothing. And besides ... it's just not an interesting story. I've put that part of my life behind me." He paused and thought for a moment. "It just doesn't exist anymore."

"But I want to know, dad," I insisted. "I need to know."

"I know you want to know more about it, but it's just not something I feel good talking about. There are some things that are better left in the past. This is one of them. Let's change the subject."

Neither of us spoke about it again until after dinner. Uncomfortable small talk filled the minutes until the waitress served us our dessert. As we ate in silence I decided to broach the subject one final time.

"Did you go to Greenville?"

Dad lifted his eyes and looked directly into mine. "Yes."


"And what?"

I pushed aside my partially finished slice of cheesecake and leaned forward on my forearms. "If you would have died a few weeks ago, I would not have known much about your life before I was born. I am your son, and I want to know. I want to know what there is about baseball that makes you clam up."

"Why is this so important to you?"

The question made me stop and think about it. Why was it so important to me? I had never really thought about it that way. "Because," I began after collecting my thoughts, "you're my father. I love you. A few weeks ago, while I was driving to the hospital, I realized that someday you'll be gone. I want to know everything about your life, and I really don't know anything about it."

My dad placed his elbow on the tabletop and rested his head in his hand, rubbing his furrowed forehead and nodding in slow resignation.

And then he began to speak.


July 21, 1941

Summers in Southern Illinois are hot, and July 1941 was hotter and more humid than most. Sesser is a small country town in "downstate" Illinois, ninety miles southeast of St. Louis. Although the entire country had suffered from the ravages of the Great Depression, this small coal mining town was particularly hard hit. Ten years into the economic misery and not a sign of recovery was anywhere to be seen. Once a thriving little mining town, Sesser and its coal mine, Old Ben #9, were now all but spent. Only a skeleton crew remained to work the mine.

Dirt poor and seemingly dying, Sesser had its interesting quirks. The town's single strand of Christmas lights spanned Main Street between the old decaying Sesser Opera House and the now-closed Miners Building and Loan. The lights stayed up year-round, but were only switched on between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

Although most of Sesser's once-bustling downtown area was now empty, Bruno's Mine Shaft Inn, the local tap, was always busy. The town's men gathered there every evening to drown their sorrows in St. Louis' finest: Busch Beer. Bruno's atmosphere was dark and dingy. The elegant cherry woodwork had once reflected the craftsmanship of years past. Now the wood was chipped and dusty. Although clean, the hardwood floor creaked with every step and was in desperate need of refinishing.

Hanging on the wall, opposite the bar that stretched from the front window to the back of the long narrow room, was a reprint of the painting "Last Stand at The Alamo." The art had been commissioned by the now defunct Radeke Brewing Company of Kankakee and distributed to local beer joints in 1919. The old and dusty print featured Davy Crockett in his coonskin cap, swinging his trusted musket 'Ole Betsy' as a club to knock attacking Mexicans off the wall. The beautifully framed print was the focal point at Bruno's, and never failed to elicit animated discussion. The Alamo was one of America's defining moments, and it was not hard for the patrons to see similarities between the storm that engulfed the small mission and the tidal wave of despair and bad luck that had swept across Sesser. The town was now as dead as Crockett himself.

The talk in Bruno's usually focused on the misery of its patrons. Farms were little more than dust bowls. Little coal was coming from the mine. Few had enough to eat, and many had nothing at all except what others were willing to share. There were many things to argue and disagree about, but one thing nearly everyone in Sesser agreed upon: President Hoover had sold their lives down the river. "You vote Republican, you'll pick shit with the chickens," Bruno Pilate often proclaimed from behind the bar. The pronouncement was always answered by raised glasses and salutes to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

There was also a popular topic of conversation of a more positive variety: "the kid." Sesser's townsfolk didn't have much, but they loved their baseball. "The kid" who was causing all the talk was a young local named Gene Moore, a teenager from a dirt-poor family living on the east side of the tracks. Gene had been tearing up the Sesser ball diamond, or what the locals called "The Lumberyard," in a loose reference to the faded sign hanging on the centerfield fence advertising "Huie Lumber."

The Cardinals were the favorite Major League team in these parts, but a trip to St. Louis and a ticket to the game were just a dream. So Sesser folk loved their Egyptians. The Southern Illinois team was a semi-pro organization made up of has-been players and young up-and-comers. On paper, the average age of the Egyptians was 27. Gene pulled the average down and skewed the true make-up of the team, however, because he was just 15. The Egyptians were the pride and joy of not just Sesser, but all of Southern Illinois. For reasons long since forgotten, this region of the state was known as "Little Egypt." Gene was the team's starting catcher, and was quickly becoming well known across the state — and beyond.

In baseball, a good catcher controls the game. He calms or fires up the pitcher, and calls for various pitches to be thrown. With a full view of the field, the catcher can move the defense around to better match his view of where the ball might be hit. At barely 15, Gene controlled the game — not just from behind the plate but also with his bat. He led the team in home runs, walks, and, of course, strikeouts. Gene Moore was a boy playing like a man, in a game played by men who act like boys.

The Egyptians' catcher was a big farm kid, six feet tall with his wide shoulders and a large frame set upon a pair of spindly legs. His hair was shiny, thick, and as black as the coal Sesser workers used to pull from Big Ben #9. When he slipped on his catcher's mask and squatted behind the plate, Gene looked like an all-star catcher in his mid-to-late twenties. It was not until he peeled off the mask that fans in the stands realized he was but a boy, too young to shave.

On July 21, 1941, Gene was warming up Davy Thompson in the bullpen a few minutes before the game. Davy was a tall, red-headed 23-year-old flamethrower. He was playing with the Egyptians during his recovery from a spring training injury he suffered with the Class C minor league team of the Detroit Tigers in Evansville. Almost fully healed, Davy was looking forward to returning to Evansville the following week.

"Come on Davy ... your slider's not sliding! Get your release up over your shoulder or they're gonna knock you off the mound today," spat Gene through his mask. The 15-year-old was coaching the pro pitcher with the confidence of a veteran. The odd thing was that Davy, eight years older than Gene, listened and responded with enthusiasm.

After a few more pitches, Davy was ready. He walked out of the bullpen, slipped his jacket over his arm, nodded and smiled to Gene, and headed for the bench.

The umpire was old Joe "Vino" Caveglia. Joe lived for baseball, and he had played the game passionately until his body no longer permitted it. Unable to stay away from ball park, he began calling games. Old Joe was the preferred umpire for any game played in and around Sesser.

"Vino" watched as the young catcher ambled onto the field and stood behind the plate. With his mask in hand, Gene looked over the Lumberyard. It was barely suitable for a game of baseball at any level. There were more weeds in the field than grass, and the weathered green bleachers were in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. Despite its ramshackle condition, The Lumberyard was home and all Gene could think of when he slipped his mask over his head was how much he loved to play the game. His thoughts were interrupted by a stranger's voice coming from behind the chicken-wire backstop.


Excerpted from "Playing with the Enemy"
by .
Copyright © 2006 Gary W. Moore.
Excerpted by permission of Savas Beatie LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments,
Foreword by Jim Morris,
Introduction by John C. Skipper,
Chapter 1: The Letter,
Chapter 2: July 21, 1941,
Chapter 3: The Corner of Matthew and Mulberry,
Chapter 4: Sunday, July 22, 1940,
Chapter 5: Monday, August 6, 1940,
Chapter 6: The Long Road to Carlisle,
Chapter 7: In the Navy,
Chapter 8: Team Navy!,
Chapter 9: North Africa,
Chapter 10: Casablanca,
Chapter 11: War Games,
Chapter 12: Rumors,
Chapter 13: Reunion,
Chapter 14: U-505,
Chapter 15: Norfolk,
Chapter 16: Camp Ruston, Louisiana,
Chapter 17: Playing with the Enemy,
Chapter 18: The Berlin Bombers,
Chapter 19: We Have Guns!,
Chapter 20: Kraut Ball!,
Chapter 21: Fighting with the Enemy,
Chapter 22: The Final Innings,
Chapter 23: The Friendship Game,
Chapter 24: The Broken Purple Heart,
Chapter 25: Branch Rickey,
Chapter 26: Home, Again,
Chapter 27: Reality,
Chapter 28: Return of a War Hero,
Chapter 29: The Letter Arrives,
Chapter 30: Dark Night of the Soul,
Chapter 31: Resurrection,
Chapter 32: Reporting to Greenville,
Chapter 33: The Second Shot,
Chapter 34: Getting Back the Game,
Chapter 35: I Heard You Was a Hitter,
Chapter 36: The Perfect Day,
Chapter 37: The Day After Perfection,
Chapter 38: Frank Boudreau,
Chapter 39: Sacrifice Play,
Chapter 40: Is That the Story You Expected to Hear?,
Chapter 41: Old Friends,
Chapter 42: The Death of the Boy Who Loved to Catch,

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Playing With the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This captivating book is a baseball story and a lesson in history, but it's more than that. It's a story of family relationships, difficult choices, and unconditional love. 'Playing with the Enemy' is a heart-warming tribute to the author's father. If I was still teaching middle school reading, this book would be in the hands of my 'reluctant readers' and I know each reader would actually finish the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Moore has written a wonderful book. As a baseball fan and a military buff, Playing With the Enemy has become, simply, one of my favorite non-fiction reads of all time. It has earned a place on my shelf of books to keep, and will be one of those books I give as gifts. But it won't be given only to fellow baseball and military historians, as this is a story that will peak the interest of anyone who likes to read of ordinary people doing the most extraordinary things while living out their private lives. Moore's book tells the story of his father, Gene Moore, a baseball prodigy whose promising baseball career was interrupted by the Second World War. Drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers as a teenager, Gene Moore entered the Navy in a little-known program that allowed Major League talents a chance to serve their country, play the game they love, and entertain the troops. Unlike Steven Bullock's Playing for Their Nation '2004', an exhaustively researched book which explained the various baseball programs that existed in the U.S. military during The War, Moore's book comes to life. While Playing for Their Nation is a must-have reference for any military baseball historian, Playing With the Enemy is a page-turner that anyone with an interest in human drama that seems too unreal to be real will enjoy. The saga of Gene Moore is as unlikely as any of the far-fetched but fun-to-read baseball stories by W.P. Kinsella but Moore's is even more compelling because it is true. Readers will find themselves rooting for Gene Moore to make it: through The War, through a tragic and impossibly unfair injury, and through his fall into the darkness of alcoholism and lost dreams. Gary Moore's book actually has much in common with another book, Flags of Our Fathers '2001' by James Bradley, the son of Iwo Jima flag raiser John Bradley. James didn't know much about his father's experiences in World War II until his father passed away. Gary didn't know much about his father's War experiences either, but was able to have a magic moment with his father just before he passed away. The result of that magic moment is Playing With the Enemy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book because of its touching story line. It's a great memoir from a son to his father, talking about his past as a baseball player in the Navy during WWII. I also enjoyed the historical pieces included. Once I started reading this book, I didn't want to put it down! This book is also being made into a movie, which I can't wait to see. All in all, I recommend it to anyone who wants a good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I had to read it in my U.S. history class and could not put it down. I really liked how Mr. Moore added in history while keeping it from being boring. This is not a book about baseball or about the war, so don't let the title discourage you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Moore's outstanding book about his father Gene and his adventures in baseball and wwII would not allow me to put this book down. As a baseball fan and also an admirer of the 'Greatest Generation' Americans like Gary's father, I could feel the emotions and pressures of the time as the book very truthfully expressed what is was like for a small town boy to succeed in war and baseball only to have dreams shattered with a freak injury. Any American can be proud of our country and our people when reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lamar Garrard Lincolnton, GA (a fan)
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY¿ is a book that will take a very special place in my personal library. One in which I will read again and again. The book is simply that striking! Gary Moore writes all the many lessons one finds in life here with such ease and readability. I can¿t think of a better gift from one person to another, especially to ones children. ¿PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY¿ is one of those books that come along only a few per lifetime. I¿m so elated that I had the honor of reading Gary¿s book and I am certain that anyone choosing to read it will feel the same.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Moore tells a personal story about his dad, Gene Moore in a powerful way that will not let you put the book down. Imagine yourself sitting in the bleachers within the stadium of life looking down at one man's progress as he 'plays the game.' You cheer for his winnings and cry at his loses and the demons that come and go. Gene Moore was a southern Illinois country boy who could hit the ball a country mile. His love of baseball was his motivation in life, but friendship, family and commitment to humanity always came first. Well written and a joy to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a simply written gut punch by a first-time author that will elicit heartfelt empathy from even the hardest souls. All of us have played the 'might have been' game with our lives, but this tale about small-town Gene Moore, a once-in-a-generation baseball talent, takes that exercise over the top. 'Playing with the Enemy' emotionally involved me to such an extent that I had to put it aside from time to time so that I could take time to reflect and recover. If it were fiction, it would be a remarkable read. The fact that the story is real makes it all the more spectacular. This story is simple and pure, but is full of lessons and nuances that have kept me engaged long after I've finished it. I can't wait for the movie. Jay A. Stout
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never read a baseball book and I have never read a war book (and I should add that I¿ve never written a book review either!). I only started reading this book as practically an obligation because my father grew up in Sesser, Illinois. I was really not looking forward to it all that much because I didn¿t want to read about baseball or war. But I kept the book open, almost non-stop, because it is a great read. This book really touched my heart. It is a great story and I could not put it down. Obviously baseball fans and war buffs will love this book too. But my main point in writing this review is to tell everyone else out there who usually sticks with fiction like me, that you really should read this book. I promise you will not be bored! And if you¿ve ever had a time in your life when you thought ¿what if¿¿, I promise this book will touch your heart. Gary Moore has exceeded expectations of a first-time writer and he did a great service by writing this book. Once you read it, you¿ll be sharing it with your friends and family, too, even if you don¿t know anyone from Sesser, Illinois.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent book whether you are reading it for baseball or World War II. Shows just what opportunities are available for all, even those from a small farming and coal mining town in the Midwest. The suffering and tribulations that Gene Moore went through to reach his ultimate dream are described in interesting detail. Especially touching at the end. As a former native of Zeigler, IL, just a few miles from Sesser, this book was especially interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First time author, Mr.Gary Moore has hit one out of the park. It is a story of a baseball player'his father' from a small town who had a god given talent and a passion to succeed in what others may have considered a dream. This remarkable story will take you through his dream,his life and his reality. You will learn about another chapter in World War II that speaks of the 'human' side. You will read about a remarkable man who loved baseball, his country and his family and not in that order. Pick this book up and you will not put it down until Mr. Moore's story is told!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those who don't believe what they see in the movies ... sometimes a true story can be as full of coincidence, theme and moral as anything Hollywood has ever produced. Such a story is PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY, a moving account of the life of a man who should have been a world-famous baseball player -- but ended up doing something very different because of one moment that changed his destiny forever. Written by his son Gary with love and admiration, the story follows Gene Moore from his teen years when he's first signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers through World War II, to a most unconventional baseball lineup, and back home where a crippling injury destroyed his chance to be the baseball star he expected to be. The book is a beautiful tribute to a man who loved the game more than anything in the world, yet has to learn some painful lessons about his place in it, and ultimately learns it from the most unexpected source possible: The German sailor he once guarded and taught to play baseball, who returns to find him and show him what his real destiny is. Though there's actually surprisingly little about the action at the heart of the title -- Gene's time spent training and playing with the German sailors -- the book as a whole is a remarkable story. Gene himself, and his family, friends and teammates, are alive in this book and stay with you long after you close it. It doesn't surprise me that the book is on its way to movie production -- if ever a story was fashioned for motion pictures, it was this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! He writes in such a way that the joy and the pain are as real as if you were experiencing them yourself. A great book with a great lesson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's a two fold poignant tale within Playing With the Enemy. One, a story of a broken heart---not over a woman, but over the love for baseball. The second is the struggle after the broken heart, and the memories that never helped Gene Moore's spirit to heal. His love for his family finally, with some help from a former enemy prisoner, became his path back. Gary Warren Moore's book puts the reader back in time, to a simpler time, of loving your country, and having a dream. The most surprising aspect of the time, was the novelty of treating prisoners like people. Gene Moore managed to use baseball to cross war torn lines. The story is very well written, and reads smoothly, historically, and touches the love of a good story in all of us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Moore is a natural story teller. With few words he draws the reader back into a simpler time, to a small town where everyone knew everyone, and people wore their values without pretense. The town of Sesser is proud of Gene Moore, a man who was destined to become one of baseball's greatest players. It isn't until Gene Moore's dream is shattered and he becomes a drunk does the depth of his heartbreak become clear. Late in the book, the author likens Gene Moore's war injury to spirit, not a physical scar. Every day we see broken soldiers returning from Iraq, but do we see their injured spirits too? Playing with the Enemy is part history, part baseball, partly a lesson in humanity, and all heart. Because of the open natural style of the author, the story reads smoothly, as if you are right there walking every step of the story with Gene Moore. He finally accepted the love of his family was stronger than what he lost.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a wonderful read. Not only does it combine history with athletics, the book offers insight on family values such as taking the time to really get to know your parents/children and using such values as a basis for life. Gary Moore writes in such a way the reader cannot help but reflect on previous actions within their own lives and gives each and every reader an option on improving personal relationships. A must for those readers who enjoy various venues.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing with the Enemy is such a great story and the best part is that it's true! The story of a baseball prodigy who goes to war and winds up using his baseball skills to not only greatly help the war effort, but heal the hate between himself and the enemy he fought. This book was a joy to read and kept me rivited. The action involving the war was exciting and learning the inside story behind the capture of the U505 submarine and how obtaining the on-board decoder was a breakthrough in the war was very interesting. The personal story of Gene Moore, his heart and his courage, was wonderful. Another very compelling part was the story of enemies learning to accept each other. To think that all this elements became tied together by the great American pasttime of baseball makes for a perfect book about the wonderful heart of America -- something we need to hear in these times. I heartily reccomend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't delay, read this book! You don't have to be a baseball fan to love this book. If you ARE a baseball fan, you should know this story! It is the most awe inspiring story I've read in years. Only life can throw you curve balls and not strike out! Men and women alike, read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book came to me highly recommended so I was naturally skeptical. So with that skepticism I put off reading it for a month. Once I started it I couldn't put it down. Having met the author at a book signing, I'm sorry I hadn't read the book first. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was equally impressed with Gary Moore. The book was a delightful read and the author was a pleasure to meet. Skepticism and all.........I just hope Hollywood can do this story justice. This is a story about real midwestern people like so many I have known all my life. This book is a gift I will buy for a friend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rather than give yet another plot summary, let me just say that five stars is not enough. I read this in two long evenings, it was that compelling. I would finish one chapter and keep telling myself, 'OK, just one more...,' Yes, it's about baseball, and yes, it's about World War 2, but it's SO much more. Gary Moore will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, and introduce you to people you will never forget. As I was reading the book, I found myself not just knowing about them, but actually caring about them, laughing with them, crying with them. I can't remember another book that touched my heart in so many different ways. I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a little different, but something that you will never forget. Even if you don't do a lot of reading - you need to read THIS book. (As a matter of fact, if you have someone in your life who doesn't necessarily like to read a lot, it would make a great gift.) To be honest, I'm ready to sit down with the book and start all over again! Thank you, Gary, for telling us your father's story. Thank you for such a genuine labor of love!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'll let other reviewers summarize the plot itself. When I was done reading this book, I not only felt like I knew Gene Moore and the rest of the folks in the story, but I actually CARED about them. Gary Moore tells a wonderfully compelling story that you won't want to put down until you're through, and you may even want to start over as soon as you're done. The best part about it is that things don't necessarily turn out the way you'd expect them to, kinda like life itself. But the lesson Gene learns (last chapter) is one we all should take to heart. I am recommending this book to anyone who loves baseball, or who loves World War 2, or who just likes a story about good people enduring through hardship. Thank you, Gary, for taking the time to share your father's story with us!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a super book, it kept me on the edge of my seat and always wanting to read farther. Hard to put down. Great emotional rollercoaster....a must for all ages
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book for everyone, I really enjoyed reading something that was down home. As a guy its hard to find a great read like this that puts you in the story with the characters, it really made you feel like you were right there with Mr. Moore. Great read, i'd recommend to Everyone !!!!!