The remarkable story of a championship college football team and the sacrifices the young athletes made when Pearl Harbor forced their country into war.
As the United States veered towards war during the fall of 1941, the University of Minnesota football team completed an undefeated national championship season—just fifteen days before the strike on Pearl Harbor. After the attack, players left behind college football stardom to command PT boats in the South Pacific, sweep mines on the beaches of Normandy, and join the invasion of Iwo Jima along with so many others from the Greatest Generation.
In From the Gridiron to the Battlefield, Danny Spewak shares the struggles and triumphs of the Golden Gophers’ 1941 season, recalling how players battled on the field even with the threat of war hanging over their heads. When the United States finally entered the war, every member of the team participated in the war effort in one way or another. As Spewak recounts, some players remained stateside in the U.S. Navy, others sailed to the Pacific Theater and faced direct combat at Iwo Jima, while another earned a Purple Heart for his heroism at Normandy.
Now more than 80 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, From the Gridiron to the Battlefield reveals the sacrifices and courage of the Greatest Generation through the eyes of the 1941 Golden Gophers.