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Play for a Kingdom (Signed First Edition)

Thomas Dyja

116 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0151002673 / ISBN 13: 9780151002672
Published by Harcourt, 1997
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Dan Pope Books (West Hartford, CT, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

New York: Harcourt [1997]. First Edition. First Printing. Hardbound. NEW, in dust jacket. Very fine/very fine in all respects. A pristine unread copy. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. Comes with mylar dust jacket cover. Smoke-free shop. Shipped in well padded box. Civil war novel. Purchased new and opened only for signature (his name only, no inscriptions). Bookseller Inventory # 03-2011-1

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Play for a Kingdom (Signed First Edition)

Publisher: Harcourt

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition...

About this title


In this “brilliantly imagined and neatly plotted” Civil War novel (Boston Globe), two battle-scarred companies-one Union, one Confederate-embark on a series of baseball games amid the carnage at Spotsylvania. “Wonderfully conceived and eloquently executed” (Caleb Carr). Maps.


At first glance, the storyline of Thomas Dyja's Play for a Kingdom story sounds corny: a Union company from Brooklyn encounters an Alabama company while on picket duty after the Battle of the Wilderness (May, 1864) and proceeds to challenge them to a series of baseball games before all hell breaks loose in Spottsylvania. The first-time novelist, however, has surprises up his sleeve, and the vividly described sporting matches set up a series of betrayals and double crosses which test the camaraderie of the Union soldiers, calling their commitment to the war effort into question.

Dyja has a gifted understanding of the powerlessness one faces in combat. War in this novel is not tragic merely because it kills and maims good men; it is dispiriting because it robs them of their identities. He handles the multiple points of view of his Brooklyn protagonists superbly, differentiating them by class, social standing, and ethnicity, and aptly shows how the war frays their senses of themselves. Commanders become followers, Irish racists hide amongst black gravediggers, and staunch abolitionists measure their belief in liberty against their gut instincts concerning the corruptibility of human nature. If the sectional crisis of the first half of the 19th century was settled on the fields of battle, the class struggle of the second half was forged in the streets of Brooklyn--making Dyja's company all the more fascinating for the way they illustrate the transition. Although the novel's climax abandons historical materialism for genre convention, the tense mixture of espionage, betrayal, and vivid battle scenes in Play for a Kingdom should please discriminating fans of Civil War fiction. --John M. Anderson

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