Bissinger’s new book ‘The Mosquito Bowl’ tells an untold story of WWII

Buzz Bissinger, author of the classic novel Friday night lightsjoined Breitbart News Saturday host Matthew Boyle to discuss his most recent book, The mosquito bowla true story about a military football game played during World War II.


Boyle noted the impact football has had on American culture over the past century and asked Bissinger to talk about the importance of the story told in his most recent novel and how it discovered.

“Well, the name of the book, The mosquito bowlactually derived from a real football game that was played on the island of Guadalcanal on Christmas Eve in 1944, between two regiments of the Sixth Marine Division of the Marine Corps,” Bissinger said.

The island took the game very seriously, with goal posts built, marching bands present and the radio broadcasting the game. Bissinger explained that the football game was played shortly before the Battle of Okinawa, where several Marines ended up dying.

“I don’t know how many, you know, 250,000 Americans, Japanese and civilians died in 82 days. I mean, that’s an incredible number. And five months later, 15 of those 65 great, young, honorable men, you know, had been killed,” he continued.

Bissinger said history also shows what America can achieve when everyone is united.

He said:

And so when I read about it, I had just stumbled upon it. I said, it’s a beautiful story. It’s an excellent story. I want to take the reader into the lives of several of the players who have played, so you get to know them, you get to love them, but you also understand, you know, the great values ​​of this country – honor, service without complaint, bravery, heroism, duty, homeland, and also what can happen and what happened in our past. When everyone is in unison, everyone is in sync. Everyone served in World War II, everyone.

“People have different beliefs. People in the United States should have different beliefs, but we proved in World War II that we can put those beliefs aside, come together, and be the greatest country on Earth. And that was very, very, very inspiring to me,” he said.

Bissinger said something like the story told in The mosquito bowl might not be possible in today’s era because there is “too much money at stake” in college football.

“That would never happen today, there’s too much money at stake. College football is really about the money,” he said. “These kids were playing college football, they weren’t going into the pros. College football was much more important than professional football, professional football was not seen as very important.

“These Marines, these college footballers, they wanted to be Marines. They didn’t get drafted, they joined officer training programs, which allowed them to play college football for a while. “Bissinger said. “They wanted the fight, they wanted to serve their country.”

Boyle extolled the spirit of the “greatest generation” and mentioned that even contemporary presidents like Donald Trump and Joe Biden have tried to recapture the American spirit of World War II. Boyle also mentioned that World War II cemented the United States as a global superpower.

“It’s out of the question. I mean, I’m kind of saying, America was the sleeping giant. And then World War II, we became an economic juggernaut,” Bissinger said. However, he did said it required all Americans to commit to a single cause.

He said:

But you know, you say something that I really agree with, you can talk, but these guys walked. And they did. Without a doubt, what does it mean to be American? It means serving your country. What does it mean to be American? It means believing in duty. Without a doubt, and what does it mean to be an American, it means putting your life on the line for your country to uphold the principles that made this country great.

Bissinger noted that Americans are divided in our time, but he remains hopeful that we can come together again for a greater cause.

“It’s tough out there. Now the division. We did it once. And I have to hope that we can do it again. And it’s not about, well, I have to let go of my beliefs, maybe we can listen a little more, maybe be a little less mean,” he said.

“Come on, you know, read the book, you might like it, you might hate it, but at least you’ll remember what can happen when we have a common enemy when we come together in a great nation , and be inspired by them like I was inspired by them, because they were the greatest generation,” he added.

Bissinger also said he was driven to write the story to preserve veterans’ legacies.

“And the other reason I wrote the book, I want those, the memories of those men, those great men, the boys, who were turned off at 18 and 19, and 22 and 23,” did he declare. “If only one person reads The Mosquito Bowl, I want those men’s memories to be preserved, because we are losing our vets by the thousands every day. And I think that in 10 or 15 years, there will be no one left.

Boyle noted that Bissinger’s novels primarily focus on football, and asked him to talk about how football brings Americans together.

“But I like to write about sport as a sociological phenomenon. I tried to do it in Friday night lights to describe the incredible power and impact high school football has had and can have on places across the country,” Bissinger said.

Kissinger went on to explain how the Navy used soccer to train its members because of the values ​​the sport instills in young men.

“In this case, the Navy believed football was the greatest source of combat training,” Bissinger said. “Why? Because what are the values ​​you learn in football? You learn teamwork, you will know how to discipline. You learn to play through pain. You learn to sacrifice, you never give up, miracles can occur.

“What are the values ​​of a great young officer? They are exactly the same. So the Navy really saved college football, because so many men were gone. So many men were overseas,” Bissinger said.

Breitbart News Saturday airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST.

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter.


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