The Mosquito Bowl - Buzz Bissinger

The Mosquito Bowl

By Buzz Bissinger

  • Release Date: 2022-09-13
  • Genre: History
Score: 4
From 157 Ratings


Instant New York Times Bestseller · Winner of the General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation

“Buzz Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights is an American classic. With The Mosquito Bowl, he is back with a true story even more colorful and profound. This book too is destined to become a classic. I devoured it.” — John Grisham

An extraordinary, untold story of the Second World War in the vein of Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat, from the author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, college football was at the height of its popularity.  As the nation geared up for total war, one branch of the service dominated the aspirations of college football stars: the United States Marine Corps. Which is why, on Christmas Eve of 1944, when the 4th and 29th Marine regiments found themselves in the middle of the Pacific Ocean training for what would be the bloodiest battle of the war – the invasion of Okinawa—their ranks included one of the greatest pools of football talent ever assembled: Former All Americans, captains from Wisconsin and Brown and Notre Dame, and nearly twenty men who were either drafted or would ultimately play in the NFL.   

When the trash-talking between the 4th and 29th over who had the better football team reached a fever pitch, it was decided: The two regiments would play each other in a football game as close to the real thing as you could get in the dirt and coral of Guadalcanal.  The bruising and bloody game that followed became known as “The Mosquito Bowl.” 

Within a matter of months, 15 of the 65 players in “The Mosquito Bowl” would be killed at Okinawa, by far the largest number of American athletes ever to die in a single battle. The Mosquito Bowl is the story of these brave and beautiful young men, those who survived and those who did not.  It is the story of the families and the landscape that shaped them. It is a story of a far more innocent time in both college athletics and the life of the country, and of the loss of that innocence.  

Writing with the style and rigor that won him a Pulitzer Prize and have made several of his books modern classics, Buzz Bissinger takes us from the playing fields of America’s campuses where boys played at being Marines, to the final time they were allowed to still be boys on that field of dirt and coral, to the darkest and deadliest days that followed at Okinawa. 


  • Might have made a magazine article.

    By burtmayne
    The pre-war historiography here is gibberish lazily researched and written and full of filler. This book is too typical of modern historical narrative cobbled together with an eye towards Hollywood and a plush film contract. Save some money and just read the Wikipedia entry about the event. A scandalous example of publisher and author collusion to bilk a reading public hungry for good history.
  • Tears Shed

    By agelearnedreader
    A very interesting recount of the people lost in World War II as somewhat a collection of short biographies of those teenage and twenty-something star athletes of the time and a brilliant presentation of the unimaginable horror or war — i.e., so much loss of young lives referred to as “waste.”
  • More hate America propaganda

    By ohjustread
    It didn’t take long for the author to blame a racist USA for causing Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor. What a waste of a potentially good story. I feel sorry for this writer.
  • Excellent.

    By wer749
    I highly recommend! A real page turner!
  • Riviting

    By Pionski
    Personalizes war in unique way. It takes readers from football fields to the horrors of the Okinawa campaign.