Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, World War II, and the Long Journey Home

Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, World War II, and the Long Journey Home

4.7 25
by Gary W. Moore

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Part Tuesdays with Morrie, part Field of Dreams-a true American story of World War II and redemption

Driven by word of mouth and the author's heroic efforts to tell the world his father's story, Playing with the Enemy was a surprise hardcover hit for its independent publisher. Gary Moore's book about his father-a baseball phenom whose future in the


Part Tuesdays with Morrie, part Field of Dreams-a true American story of World War II and redemption

Driven by word of mouth and the author's heroic efforts to tell the world his father's story, Playing with the Enemy was a surprise hardcover hit for its independent publisher. Gary Moore's book about his father-a baseball phenom whose future in the majors was cut short by World War II and a fateful occurrence during a top secret mission for the U.S. Navy-is a warm-hearted memoir of faded dreams and new hope that is destined for the bestseller lists. Filled with memorable characters from an extraordinary time in our country's history, it is a truly redemptive story that will be read and reread for generations to come.

Editorial Reviews

Gene Moore, from tiny Sesser, Illinois, was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers at age 15 in 1940. After Pearl Harbor, the Dodgers arranged for him to be a member of a traveling U.S. Navy baseball team to entertain troops in the European theater. Eventually, the team was assigned stateside to guard a select group of German prisoners in Louisiana. The Germans had been captured when their submarine, the U-505 (now a featured attraction at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry), experienced mechanical problems in the vicinity of Allied warships. The story of the relationship that developed between the prisoners and their guards is a fascinating one. Because the Allies captured key code-breaking information with the sub, the existence of the prisoners was kept secret. Author Moore, son of Gene, also tells the heartbreaking story of how his father tried to recapture his major-league dream after the war but did not succeed. A moving profile of one, nearly unknown member of the Greatest Generation. Wes Lukowsky Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Library Journal

In his first book, Moore (president, Covenant Air & Water, LLC) writes of his late father, Gene Moore, a small-town boy who was said to have prodigious baseball talent and who was scouted by the Brooklyn Dodgers when he was still a teenager. Then Pearl Harbor intervened, and everything changed. Moore joined the navy and ultimately assumed a new role: as a guard for the German sailors caught from the captured and highly prized U-505 submarine (the submarine is now one of the most visited holdings of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry). To pass the time, Moore taught these men how to play baseball and in the process learned a new role as a teacher. Owing to war injury and the passage of time, his talents may have faded (he did get a second look from the Pittsburgh Pirate organization after the war). This is a very touching book about new roles and second chances. The author has used fictionalized dialog to move the story along and increase readability. Both history (especially war) and baseball buffs will enjoy this work, which is recommended for larger collections.
—Paul Kaplan

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.49(w) x 8.44(h) x 0.79(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Gary W. Moore is the president and managing partner of Covenant Air & Water, LLC, a motivational speaker, and an accomplished musician.

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Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, World War II, and the Long Journey Home [With Headphones] 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Donna_M_Stewart More than 1 year ago
Playing With The Enemy will soon be a major motion picture, and I feel that it could not have happened to a greater man, or a greater book! Sometimes, while allowing my mind to wander as I read, I thought a bit about movies like Field of Dreams, and thought a lot about baseball. And it seems to me that baseball, the All-American Pastime, is more near and dear to our hearts than we may realize. I wonder if tears would be shed during Field of Dreams had it been about football or basketball or hockey. I doubt it. These feelings and sentiments were brought to life on even a grander scale in Playing With The Enemy. Brilliantly written by a man who loved his father, Gary takes us along his father's life journey's, and we get to know Gene Moore, almost on a very personal level, and we come to love him as well. Gary Moore has given us all a gift in Playing With The Enemy. What I am taking away from this book may be different than what you may take away from it, but I can assure you that you will take something away from it, and it will linger in your thoughts for years after reading it. I related very closely to parts of Playing With The Enemy because my grandfather was abseball player, had just been signed to a New York team, and polio took that dream away from him. But Gene Moore's story goes much deeper, taking us into WWII and what he unselfishishly accomplished there. If I were ever to recommend a book, Playing With The Enemy would be it. It's true, it's real, and it will make you laugh, cry, smile, and think. Thank you, Gary, for not only honoring us with your presence on our show, but for bringing us into your life and the life of your father! God Bless You Both!
paulpenta More than 1 year ago
Playing with the Enemy hits you on several levels at once. Yes, it is a baseball story, but so much more.

It's Sesser, IL, a small town where "everybody knows your name" and where everyone breathes with the same rhythm. A place where the entire population is attached to the ups and downs of a young baseball player and his career prospects. They live vicariously through him, assigning his life choices the same importance as their own, convinced that his escape from the mines of Sesser can be their own.

It's WWII and the interruption of yet another life plan. It's how humanity can overcome the natural enmity between combatants, building a bridge to a future where peace prevails and we must all get along.

And finally, it is defining yourself by the person you are and continue to be rather than what you do for a living.

Playing with the Enemy is a well written, brisk read that will take you from the sandlots of Sesser, IL to the battlefields of North Africa and back. Enjoy the journey.
Dreams More than 1 year ago
I began reading this book with excitement because it was written about a man from Sesser. I grew up in Southern Illinois about 30 minutes north of Sesser, and recently moved here. I excitedly began to identify with places in the book. Maple Hill Cemetery, Bruno's, Mulberry and Matthew street. All of that is what first drew me in. Then the story came to life. It could have been set anywhere in small town American when things were hard. The young man playing ball, for love of the game, and all of the things that are pure about it. I began the book from a friend on Friday afternoon and couldn't put it down until I finished it on Saturday. The stories brought to life a town, a war, a person, and the era. I have already sent my copy to a friend to share what I learned. I am buying more to share with my dad, grandpa, and friends. This book should be read by anyone who has ever missed out on a dream. I am thankful that Gene went after his. Thank you to Gary Moore for sharing the story of his father and the hopes of small town.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a gift from my son who appreciates and shares my love for sports and history. Gary Moore's entertaining tribute to his father is a wartime story of humanity at its best and triumphing over adversity. I discovered my late father was involved in the capture of U-505, and this book re-connected me with my brothers and gave us better understanding of our 'greatest generation'. I hope my son enjoys this story as much as I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Our lives are not determined by the dreams we dream but by the decisions we make. The best decision you could make is to buy this book and read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderfully written story that grabs your heart. Gary Moore paints a brilliant picture of life, baseball and friendships in this story about his father and life lessons. The characters develop on the pages and pull you onto the field at the Lumberyard, and carry you through the end of the war. A must read for any baseball fan. You will not be disappointed. It is one of those special books you will keep in your library to share with your loved ones.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing with the Enemy is by far one of the, if not, the most moving book I've ever read. This book truly touched me on a profoundly deep level. This book is a true testiment to the human spirit and would honestly be loved by anyone, not just baseball fans, and absolute 'must buy'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not a reader or a writer. I read this book word for word, cover to cover. My love, Sandy, bought it and hoped it would interest me. I have a passion for baseball and enjoy history. I also enjoy hearing about those who go after their dreams and fight off adversity. Playing with the Enemy...Wow! I couldn't put the book down. I finished at 12 midnight and had to email the author, Gary Moore. This book is not just for those who love baseball or enjoy history. It is a human interest story that teaches so much about life. It's also about a son who needed to know more about his fathers past. I volunteer at a high school and coach baseball. I will use much of what I read about Gene Moore when motivating players. It's the morning after reading the book. I've spent all morning emailing friends about Gene Moore. This includes baseball players, family,friends and anyone I know who enjoys reading a good book. You'll enjoy this book. I've always liked the slogan 'baseball is life'. For those who never had a passion for the the'll see what I mean. Earl Altshuler San Diego
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember sitting in the theater when Field of Dreams came out. A couple minutes into the movie, Kevin Costner is setting up the storyline, deep into a discussion about batting averages and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Out of the blue, one of the two old ladies sitting in front of me groaned, in obvious agony, ¿oh god, this is a baseball movie?¿ The word baseball said with all the welcome of a democrat in a country club. An hour and a half later, as they were walking up the aisle, the old ladies were in tears, talking about what a wonderful movie that was and what a nice boy that Kevin Costner is. I thought about this when I finished reading Gary Moore¿s book, Playing With The Enemy. I read a lot of baseball books. Some good, some dull as a Washington Nationals-Pittsburgh Pirates double header. Playing With The Enemy is just another book about baseball like The Bible is just another book about whales. Sure, its central action is based around baseball. But the story has as many sides as human nature itself. It¿s a nicely told history lesson about America in the 1940s. About growing up in one of those rusted out Midwest towns so small you wonder why they even bother to name it. It¿s a compelling human drama about the author¿s dad, Gene Moore, a kid with God-given talent for baseball, a can¿t-miss teenager whose ticket out has been punched by the Brooklyn Dodgers and was just waiting for the next train out. But that train found a detour called World War II and that kid found humanity in the most inhumane of situations. Gene Moore wasn¿t sent to war to fight. He was sent to entertain. To play baseball for the troops. But after many of his baseball colleagues were re-stationed, they didn¿t have enough to field two teams. So Gene gets the wild idea to train the German prisoners of war to play. But in the last game before being sent home, he would hit yet another detour, this one with heartbreaking results. Then Playing With The Enemy becomes a sad story about shattered dreams. Thanks to an unkind twist of fate, Gene Moore¿s enemy is no longer the German POWs, it¿s Gene Moore himself. Bitter and disillusioned, he drinks himself into a hole so deep that he almost misses seeing his second chance. A second chance that turns this story, at last, into one of redemption. In the end, though, what I found even more remarkable than the story of Gene Moore¿s life is the story behind the story. Gene Moore kept this secret locked up inside of him for so many years. Time might heal most wounds, but heartbreak isn¿t one of them. Almost by accident, Gary Moore was able to crack this safe he knew as his father and discover a buried treasure inside the man. A hero where there used to be just a loving father. Thanks to Gary Moore¿s Playing With The Enemy, Gene Moore made the big leagues after all. Just some sixty-odd years after he was drafted. Unlike Field Of Dreams, this is a true story. It just happens to be a baseball story. Gary Moore¿s first book makes him Rookie Of The Year in my book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a guy who will be 70 years old soon, this book was joyful to read. It rekindled memories of being a boy in love with a game. I, like many other boys, aspired to be a major leaguer some day. I lived for baseball season, just like Gene Moore. I rode the helicopter with him in his lifetime dream laughed and cried with him, experiencing every emotion like they were my own. At the same time, I was learning history that I never connected to the sport. I was touched by his connection with people, how he interacted with everyone, and his desire to 'just play the game'. In the end, Gene confirmed that life is family and family is life. Games are to be played and enjoyed, while family and friends are to be cherished. As I continue to play games, such as softball and tennis, I keep reminding myself about Gene's story and how it relates to me as a participant and teammate. Gene teaches us that we need to cherish those special people in our lives who stand by us whether we make it to the 'bigs', or play for the sheer fun of it. Sam Geati Huntley, IL
Guest More than 1 year ago
My book club read this book and we all found it to be an enjoyable read, an inspiring story and a wonderful tribute of a son to a father. Mr. Moore writes about his father with love and pride. The story stands as and inspiration to those of us who have had to change our dreams along the way, and still lived a life of satisfaction. This was a good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful read. You won¿t want to put it down until you have finished it. All of us can be inspired by Gene Moore¿s story. Even when dreams are dashed we can look around to see God¿s blessings in our lives. Sometimes it takes an ¿enemy¿ to point out our most precious gift ¿ our family and their love for us. Don¿t delay. Read or listen to this book now.
TotallyFAB 8 months ago
This is Gary Moore's first book and the first half it read like that. I don't know if people talked like that in 40's, but the conversations seemed to me like an old movie. However, there is a definite improvement over the last half of this very enjoyable book. By some of the reviews there are readers that didn't get very far before they gave up on what turns out to be a terrific story. I think they denied themselves an entertaining read. Moore wrote compassionately and realistically, pulling no punches describing his father's positive highs and lowest of lows. If you gave up on it, go back. In the end you will glad you did.
Sir_ReadalotKJ More than 1 year ago
Great story told well.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really moved by this true book. I looked up Sessor, IL on the internet and found it too small for most maps. The main person (not character), Gene Moore, moved me to do something I had never done before-write to the author, his son, and tell him how it had effected me. Great job! I look forward to the movie!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing With The Enemy is a beautifully written account of a man¿s dream, never fully realized, and the benefits which were achieved as a result. It captures the ¿sports¿ interest, essential history of World War II, the choices that shaped one individual and his whole family. It is dialogue at its best, a statement of a son¿s gratitude to his father and a tremendously interesting story that might never have been revealed had not Gene Moore¿s final hours been a time of sharing with his son, Gary. The writing in this book is superb, and, being from a small town in Illinois myself, makes me proud that the story has been told. No one should miss this account because it is entertaining and it teaches. I encourage its reading with willingness to see one¿s self and to recognize that our dreams, though worthy, can be redirected to even greater attainment than we might have imagined. Thank you, Gary Moore, for a true story excellently presented for us all! Dr. David Lawson Retired Church of God National Executive Church of God, Anderson, Indiana
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Moore's Playing With the Enemy is the most inspiring book I have read in years. I received this book as a birthday gift from my family and was simply not able to put it down. While the book is about baseball, its meaning and impact go far beyond the sport itself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anyone it is very hart warming and a grate read! If you haven't read it you are totally missing out! I just loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What wonderful memories and such a great story. The warmth of the book, the tragedy of the story, the victory of the man's life are all so important as well as poignant and gripping. It is a book that cannot be put down. As a native of that area, I know the joy and celebration for anyone who makes it big or even almost makes it big. Thanks to Gary Moore for the time he 'forced' on his dad in causing this conversation and thanks to Gary for writing this wonderful book. What an inspiration to share in the lives and memories of our families.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book, possibly in record time. I recommend this book to anyone-not just baseball/history fans. I gave this book to my father and 13 year old brother....they love it too. I feel lucky to have heard about this book and to have actually of picked it up. I am in the process right now of getting my entire middle school students reading the book!! I feel that it will shed some light on a bleak part of all of our lives....MIDDLE SCHOOL!!! I love this book!
didnt_drink_the_kool-aid More than 1 year ago
This book is poorly researched; contains numerous historical and factual errors; and, must be described, at best, as a work of historical fiction.