Monday, September 17, 2007

Ted Williams At War

Book Review - Rounder Books

"He did a helluva good job. Ted only batted .406 for the Red Sox. He batted a thousand for the Marine Corps and the United States." - John Glenn

Ted Williams was the only Hall of Fame ballplayer who saw military service in two wars. He was a fight instructor with the United States Marine Corps in World War II and flew 39 combat missions in the Korean War - several of them as wingman for squadron mate John Glenn. Shot down once, on his third mission, Williams was lucky to escape with his life. He was back up and flying less than 24 hours later.

There aren't too many athletes who are truly heroes. Ted Williams was one such athlete. Imagine Alex Rodriguez or Barry Bonds flying dive-bombing missions in close air support of troops on the ground, taking anti-aircraft fire as they pulled out of the dive as low as 500 feet. Imagine the records Williams might have set had he not devoted nearly five full seasons to serving the country.

Most biographies of Ted Williams devote a chapter or two to the five years he spent in the Marines. Bill Nowlin has interviewed over 40 pilots, who flew with Capt. Williams from K-3 in Korea, and interviewed over 120 people in all who knew or encountered Ted Williams during his years of service. Combined with access to Williams' squadron records, his personal flight logbooks, and his fitness and evaluation reports, Ted Williams At War presents by far the most comprehensive portrait of a man that many termed "the real John Wayne."
Features a wealth of over 100 photographs (most previously unpublished) from Ted's time in the service.