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Playing the game together, integration through teammanship--it's one of the most tritely obvious connections that can be made, but it does have a certain degree of validity. Taken as a formula sports story this book encompasses an unusual amount of serious material within the confines of the playing field; as a social consciousness novel it suffers generally from over-simplification yet it does plausibly present one of the most frequent integration situations in a way that may catch the interest of boys who rarely look to books for more than simple entertainment. General (Robert) Lee is the Negro who is the first to integrate the small city, border Texas high school team (perfectly reconciled to its Mexican membership). Many team members and citizens take a dim but non-violent view of having General play, but they gradually welcome him as the team gets progressively, unexpectedly closer to the State championship. The brutality is only in the game, and General is big and strong enough to take the extra punishment the opposition frequently gives him. The book is weakened by the fact that the high school games are taken a little too pompously and seriously, and by the lack of insight into General's personality. But it does score in recreating the atmosphere and people of the small city, in demonstrating how suspicion can evolve into acceptance, and in building up a genuine sense of excitement over the progress of both General and his team.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1966
Publisher: Vanguard