As we head into Super Bowl weekend, it’s only fitting that I recommend a book that changed the way I think about professional football.
I read this in the fall, and it still pops into my mind all the time.
It’s set in 2004, Thanksgiving Day at a Dallas Cowboys game, where 19-year-old soldier Billy Lynn and his squad are on the last stop of their USA victory tour after being deemed heroes for a firefight with Iraqi insurgents.
We’re in Billy’s head the whole time, experiencing all of his very conflicted thoughts about war and cheerleaders and football and the Hollywood producer who wants to option his squad’s story and even Beyonce, who’s performing at the halftime show that the squad will appear in. (The kernel of inspiration for this book was an actual Destiny’s Child halftime performance at a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day in 2004.)
It’s funny and smart and insightful and very sad, absolutely one of the best war books I’ve read, and, while we’re at it, one of my favorite books about America in the 21st century.
Just learned Ang Lee’s directing the movie version, which could be really amazing. So read it before that comes out.