RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewIf the author bemoans that the term Greatest Generation has become a \'tired bromide,\' the mission of his book is to restore the hard-won honor of that designation by focusing at length on what these men endured and how so many lived and died. He succeeds brilliantly, interweaving rich back stories of a few superior college football players whose sports careers and lives were upended and often ended by war. The brutality of the conflict itself is described in unstinting detail, unfathomable numbers and profane frankness. It’s not a book I could read straight through — the accumulated carnage was too painful — but it changed the way I thought about World War II ... In a style that resembles a collage more than a straightforward narrative, he creates two astonishing set pieces ... I can’t speak to how accurately Bissinger recounts, and criticizes, the tactics and strategy of generals and commanders, who are backgrounded anyway. But the authority of his storytelling and his research — listed in more than 100 pages of endnotes, and assembled from military records, correspondence, interviews of nonagenarians like my colleague Johnny, and other reportorial feats — shows up everywhere, in the numbers, in battle accounts, in the homey mundanity of letters home.
MixedSan Francisco Chronicle[Roach's] MO is to parachute into a foreign field, gamely undertake tasks beyond her ability and report back to us her research, observations and experiences from the point of view of a self-deprecating but sensible everyperson...The power of sections early on in the book caused me to question the overall structure, as the later chapters, about subjects like odor research and shark repellent, seem too discursive with too little at stake in the aftermath. In general I found the chapters to be more like discrete magazine stories, albeit very funny and informative ones, than parts that make up a greater narrative whole. Roach nevertheless is able to tiptoe through dangerous ground — that of potentially trivializing warfare with her signature humor — with some dexterity, celebrating military doctors, scientists, their patients and their fields of study while providing enough laughs to perhaps make a reader cough up — what else? — a bolus.