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When the men were gone : a novel
2018
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Summary
<p>"...Sublimely ties together the drama of high school football, gender politics, and the impact of war on a small town in Texas." - Sports Illustrated</p> <p>A cross between Friday Night Lights and The Atomic City Girls, When The Men Were Gone is a debut historical novel based on the true story of Tylene Wilson, a woman in 1940's Texas who, in spite of extreme opposition, became a female football coach in order to keep her students from heading off to war.</p> <p>Football is the heartbeat of Brownwood, Texas. Every Friday night for as long as assistant principal Tylene Wilson can remember, the entire town has gathered in the stands, cheering their boys on. Each September brings with it the hope of a good season and a sense of unity and optimism.</p> <p>Now, the war has changed everything. Most of the Brownwood men over 18 and under 45 are off fighting, and in a small town the possibilities are limited. Could this mean a season without football? But no one counted on Tylene, who learned the game at her daddy's knee. She knows more about it than most men, so she does the unthinkable, convincing the school to let her take on the job of coach.</p> <p>Faced with extreme opposition--by the press, the community, rival coaches, and referees and even the players themselves--Tylene remains resolute. And when her boys rally around her, she leads the team--and the town--to a Friday night and a subsequent season they will never forget. </p> <p>Based on a true story, When the Men Were Gone is a powerful and vibrant novel of perseverance and personal courage.</p>
Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

In Brownwood, Texas, in 1944, most of the men are in the armed forces. That includes anyone who could coach the high-school football team. Assistant principal Tylene Wilson runs through a list of possibles but comes up empty; then it hits her: I'll do it myself. She knows the game as well as any man (she was diagramming plays in grade school). She convinces the skeptical principal and wins over the team captain and star player. She's the head coach. What she doesn't anticipate is the animosity of the Brownwood citizenry to a woman who dares step outside of her traditional role. Tylene's struggles, on and off the field, form the core of this satisfying historical novel based on a true story. There's plenty of football, but the book also offers a vivid look at small-town life during WWII, from dealing with rationing to the constant fear of hearing the worst about family members in the service. Appended is information on the real Tylene Wilson. The author's note also reveals that Lewis, inspired by Tylene, is now an assistant football coach.--Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2018 Booklist
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