Praise for THE VARSITY from Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation:
"Lee Brown has discovered and written about an important and fascinating aspect of the Greatest Generation. Many veterans went to war by dropping out of school and enlisting under age. When they came home determined to resume their education they were older and viewed by some educators as troublesome. As Lee shows us, these vets enriched their schools, communities and it’s time they get our appreciation."
World War II was the most lethal event in human history, which explains why its history is so often explored in film and literature. THE VARSITY, however, deals with one of its least known narratives: the contributions of America’s underage warriors. Today, it is estimated one-hundred thousand adolescents, ages 12 to 16, forfeited the sweetness of their youth to combat the ruthless ambitions of the Axis powers. The novel’s two main characters, Bruce Harrison and Manny da Silva, leave high school to enlist underage illegally. Entering the kill zones, they face not only the terror of mortal combat but severe penalties should their true ages be discovered, to meet these challenges they adopt the core values of a warrior’s ethic: soldiering on. At war’s end, Bruce and Manny return to their former high school only to face new conflicts from a hostile PTA, jealous seniors, and insensitive teachers. To avoid the banalities of senior year hi jinx, the two GIs become co-captains of a perennially losing varsity squad and show them how to become a championship team. THE VARSITY is more than just another war story as it explores love beyond romance, touches upon shell shock, and asks if there are any core military values with application in peace time. Lastly, it has been meticulously researched for historical accuracy, and its characters represent amalgams of genuine underage veterans of World War II interviewed by the author.