Author: Suse Coon

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Monday, September 5th, 2011 at 4:46 pm
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Book Reviews

Soldier’s Game

Eloquently portrayed, Soldier’s Game is two stories in one. Ross is a football-mad pupil at Bruntsfield Primary School and a huge fan of Heart of Midlothian Football Club. After a particularly humiliating defeat, his grandmother offers inspiration in the form of an old pair of football boots that had belonged to his great grandfather, who played for Hearts. This leads us into the second story, a true story of the 16th Royal Scots, the Hearts Battalion, of World War II fame.

Professional footballers were not volunteering to go to war and many families shunned them as cowards, a fact which distressed players and club officials alike. When long time Hearts supporter Lieutenant Colonel Sir George Macrae decided to raise a battalion of Hearts players and supporters to go to France, Hearts became the only club in Scotland to do so. Many players never returned, or returned too injured to return to the game they loved.

James Killgore is an American who lives in Edinburgh but whose daughter plays football. The story was made up to please her, but as Killgore was reading a book called Macrae’s Battalion by Jack Alexander at the time, he had the idea of blending fact and fiction in Soldier’s Game, thus paying tribute to a number of brave men who were heroes on and off the football pitch.

Books that boys will read are few and far between but this is a book which is well worth reading, whether you’re male or female, boy or girl.

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