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The Eleventh Man by Ivan Doig
The Eleventh Man of this novel's title is Ben Reinking, a member of a Montana university's football team that went undefeated in 1941. The eleven members of the team volunteered for the war after that historic season, and Ben was assigned to write the story of each of the other ten as they were scattered around the globe. His stories of their heroism would be circulated by a government news service to small town newspapers. One teammate has already been paralyzed by the time Ben starts his assignment, but Ben is afraid he'll have to write the obituaries of the others. He's assured that, statistically, nine of the other ten should survive. Ben struggles with their stories, has an affair with a married female pilot, and finds that his travels through different theaters of war imperil his own life. Ivan Doig's novel has received positive reviews with the Rocky Mountain News saying, "Doig incorporates all the elements of a good novel: an intensifying love interest, the drama of war, repeated moments of life-or-death intensity, the complexity of multiple story lines, historical curiosities, seamless prose and even a winning football team."