In this book, Pletkovich examines the life of U.S. Army veteran Gerald A. O'Reilly. The son of a prominent Wall Street banker and grandson of a U.S. Ambassador under President Teddy Roosevelt, O'Reilly was raised in Brooklyn, New York, during the 1920's and 1930's, when stick ball ruled the streets and rumblings of another war in Europe shook the earth across the Atlantic. His story takes us from the bleachers at Ebbets Field in trolley-car Brooklyn to the hallways of Notre Dame during legendary football coach Frank Leahy's national championship years, to the innermost thoughts of an elite Tenth Mountain Divison soldier thrust into the horrors of battle in Italy's harsh Apennine Mountains. Pletkovich interviewed Mr. O'Reilly over a four-year period during which the two amassed more than fifteen hundred hours of dialogue.
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