Play for a Kingdom
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: August 2009
Duration: 13 hours 25 minutes
May, 1864. In a moment of quiet during the endgame between Grant and Lee, a Union and a Confederate company meet, not entirely by accident. The Union soldiers are a motley company of Irish, English, and German stock, all ragged and worn from the Battle of the Wilderness. Left behind to guard their army's flank, they decide to relax with a baseball and bat when, as if by magic, a company of Alabama infantry appears from the woods. These ordinary soldiers determine to play baseball with the enemy, perhaps for diversion, perhaps to remind themselves that they are still human.
In the ensuing days, Brooklyn meets Alabama four more times on the playing field, even though their armies collide in the horror now known as Spotsylvania. As every game and skirmish brings them closer to a violent end, what began as a game turns into a business as serious as death and dishonor, and each soldier realizes the price and the prize that betrayal offers.
"The madness of war and the passion evoked by baseball complement each other beautifully in this extraordinary first novel....A sensitive, forceful, even breathtaking commingling of play and war, daydream and nightmare, the humane and the bestial, in which the human dimensions of warfare are unforgettably evoked."-Kirkus Reviews