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When the Men Were Gone: A Novel
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When the Men Were Gone: A Novel

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  263 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
In Marjorie Herrera Lewis’s debut historical novel the inspiring true story of high school teacher Tylene Wilson—a woman who surprises everyone as she breaks with tradition to become the first high school football coach in Texas—comes to life.

Football is the heartbeat of Brownwood, Texas. Every Friday night for as long as assistant principal Tylene Wilson can remember, the
ebook, 240 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
First off I received this book as a giveaway from William Morrow. And for that I say thank you.

I am not a big fan of American Football, but I still enjoyed this story that was based on a real person. And this story was very faith based, so it crosses genres over into Christian Fiction.

The main character of this story had many obstacles to overcome and she did it with her best face forward.

This story also makes for a good North American fall read. Especially since it is set during High School fo
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
I got this book as an uncorrected proof at a Book Expo.

What an uplifting, powerful, and moving book that touched on the subjects of war, loss, and hope. But what I loved most about this book was it's reminder of what life was like for women back in the '40s and the social constraints they endured because they weren't seen as equal to men.

I would recommend this book be added to a school's summer reading list as it is both entertaining and educational. And I wouldn't be surprised if it was made in
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a debut Historical Fiction novel based on a true story set during WWII in the heart of Texas. This was a quick, light and fun read. It was character driven. The characters were very detailed. They were likable and they all had purpose with their own story to tell. There wasn't much world building other than what came through from all of the characters....their thoughts, actions, emotion, etc. But that was okay...not a deal breaker.

A vice principal steps up to coach the high school footb
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Football was part of everyone’s life in Brownwood, Texas. The men taught their sons, the coaches led their teams, the girls cheered them on, and everyone came to the games every Friday night during football season. High school football meant everything to this town, and everyone knew their place. At least that’s the way it was until the war took the men. Now, most of the men eligle to coach the high school team were either serving overseas or had paid the ultimate price of freedom with their liv ...more
Daniel Ross
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I first saw the cover of this novel, I immediately remembered one of my favorite movies, "Summer of '42." The movie brilliantly details the adolescent lives and times of two boys too young to go off to WW II, the heartbreak of a young war widow, and how those life streams connect.

The brilliance of Marjorie's based-on-a-true-story novel is that, like the movie did, it distills the life and times of people facing far-off WW II into a local conflict that they must battle hand to hand. The prim
Courtney Judy
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another "based on a true story" that I completely missed it was true! A very fast and easy read that at times had me saying "are you serious??" while reading. Reminding me a little bit of "Wildcats" with Goldie Hawn, 'When the Men Were Gone' was a great story about a town in Texas whose high school football season was severely affected by the war and the strong woman that stepped up and became the football coach despite the verbal and mental abuse that she was subjected to by some of the players ...more
Dayle (the literary llama)
A quick read with some shining moments and spotlight on another role that women fought to fill during WWII. The coaching chapters were by far the best and incredibly interesting and easy to get caught up in.

But it also lacked plot focus in areas, with a lot of detailed filler that eventually felt unnecessary to the overall story arc (even though they were probably the factual parts of the history that the author wanted to convey). It was mostly the quick backstories on every minor character tha
It's Autumn 1944, and with all the young men heading off to WWII there is no one left to coach the high school football team except Assistant Principal Tylene Wilson. But not everyone is in favor of a woman taking on a man's job . . .

My review: http://perfectretort.blogspot.com/201...
Melissa Isaacson
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful read with compelling characters that draw you in instantly and capture your heart. This is an amazing debut novel by Marjorie Herrera Lewis.
Devon H
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Heavy on the football and the feminism, this is a historical fiction novel to look out for featuring a small town in Texas in 1944. Miss Tylene Wilson is the assistant principal at Brownwood High School, and she's got her work cut out for her. However, she's concerned for a new reason this season, and it's that football might be cancelled due to WWII's toll on the male population. Tylene's been an avid football fan all her life, for reasons that are more personal than she tends to let on, but as ...more
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to LibraryThing and Wm. Morrow for this ARC.

I love books about strong women and this was one of them. Who would have thought in the 1940's a woman coaching a football team during the war because one coach was dead due to the war and the other was serving? Tylene who was an assistant principal and a former English teacher at this school, was determined to do so even with practically the whole town and some players against this. She grew up loving footfall and knowing much more than a lot o
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story

Based on a true story about a woman who coached a high school football team during world war 2. This was a great story, about a woman of great tenacity, and who knew the game of football inside and out. The opposition she faced because she was a woman was significant, but her courage knew no bounds. A truly inspiring story especially for this time. She didn't make excuses, she didn't let the world tell her she couldn't, she didn't play the victim. Highly recommend . Lots of football j
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There is nothing about football that interests me except this book. I'm totally confounded by how Marjorie Herrera Lewis kept me enrapt in a football story. Ok, it's not really a football story. It's a story of how a woman's strength, courage, and skill prevailed against the odds.

Marjorie's story structure is a role model for establishing plot. I made note of how she added obstacle upon obstacle upon obstacle and raised the stakes for the characters. Just when you think the character's situation
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little bit Remeber the Titans and Friday Night Lights. This historical fiction read is based on a true story about a woman stepping up to coach a Texas high school football team after previous coaches were lost in WW2 action or enlisted. Her father instilled her love and knowledge of the game at a young age (like mine). But more than that her concern for the boys enlisting for war prematurely if the season was cancelled drove her determination. It was a sad time and a very different team so ge ...more
Arica Lingerfelt
Love the story!

Love this story about a woman who took a chance in a non female role and created a positive change in a community!
Chris Markley
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This quick reading book based on a true story tells the story of Tylene Wilson, an assistant principal in a small Texas town, who is determined to give the town a football season even though all the men are off fighting World War II. She loves her town and knows football so what could possibly be the problem. One of my favorite reads of the year. A must for readers of historical fiction and for readers that enjoy books about strong women.

Thanks to William Morrow for providing an arc for my hones
Shelby Slay
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
An engrossing and quick read, especially if you love football, World War II stories, and Texas.

I wouldn't be surprised if we soon see this story on the big screen.
Quick read. The story had a ton of potential but the writing wasn’t quite there.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I absolutely love reading debuts. There is something really wonderful about taking part in a dream come to fruition. I have no doubt that writers put their heart and soul into all of the books they write, but I like to imagine that there is an extra something that goes into that first published work. Lewis’ debut checked a lot of boxes for me. It’s a historical novel based on a true story that has a strong female protagonist who defies societal norms, and bonus–it’s written by a woman. All of th ...more
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Football season is upon us and if you are a fan of the game and fiction set during WWII, Majorie Herrera Lewis' When the Men Were Gone will hit the spot. It's 1944 in Brownwood, Texas, where football is king and WWII has taken its toll on the small town.

When their football coach is tragically killed in action in France, and the replacement coach up and enlists after his brother is taken as a POW, it looks like the football season will be cancelled. This greatly upsets Assistant Principal Tylene
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
There is a compelling true story here, and I commend the author for trying to give credit to this brave woman and share her story. Sadly the story felt lifeless with the exception of the final few chapters. The author loves nothing more than a long sentence with many commas, which read as someone in a rush to spew out a thought. The dialogue sounds like an old 50's-60's sitcom and not at all natural. There are too many irrelevant details that add nothing to the character development and there is ...more
Jodi-Lee Kaemingk
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
There are a handful of books that are able to fully explain and communicate what it's like to be a woman in a man's world, this is one such book.
From start to finish, the reader is drawn into the struggle of a persistent female school administrator who knows beyond a shadow of a doubt her ability to coach the boys football team while 'The Men Were Gone'.
I can't wait for more people to experience this wonderful story.
Lighthearted story about a football team with no coach during the 1940's. The town gets in an uproar when Tylene Wilson, a woman, steps up to coach.

I was a bit taken aback at the animosity some of the men showed towards Tylene. After all, they sure didn't volunteer to take on the job.

The story was a bit too sappy for my tastes, but I enjoyed it in spite of that. Good read for football season and to show how far women have come since the 1940's.
Shari Suarez
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A debut novel by a female sportswriter this is an uplifting and powerful story. It is based on a true story of a female football coach during WWII. As you can imagine, not everyone was thrilled with a female football coach but Tylene Wilson persevered to keep young men in high school and not heading off to war.
This book was a quick read and it made me both angry and sad. This one should be a hit as it's subject matter is very timely and the book is well written.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A unique look at how rituals we take for granted were at risk of being shelved during WWII. A woman sets out to coach her high school football team in small town Texas but stereotyping the sexes gets in the way. A great quick read about a period in history.
Kristin (Always With a Book)
Full review posted on blog.
The Library Lady
Something just doesn't work here. It's a good plot, so I think it's the narration. Perhaps the flat, dull tone of the narrator is typical of time and place (Texas during WWII), but it didn't make for an entertaining read.
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bea-2018
Interesting story, more so because based on true events. But the narrative arc felt a bit odd, with not much of the actual football games she coached
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

This is an absolute awesome story – and it is all the better for being based on a true one. It also has a surprising amount of resonance. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Tylene Wilson was a real person. She really did coach men’s football in Brownwood Texas during World War II, as the title says, when all the men were gone. One of the differences between the fictional Tylene and the factual Tylene was that the real Tylene coached colle
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tylene Wilson was born and bred in Texas, a football fan through and through. More than that, she fully understood the game and the players thanks to her father's lessons. Tylene is now the assistant principle in Brownwood, TX, the year is 1944 and most of the men have gone to war, including some of her students and their football coach. Tylene knows the importance of football for the boys and the town; with the threat of the football season being cancelled, she is determined to find a worthy co ...more
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“These boys would be better off hog-tied than playing for a woman!” shouted another. The discordant men gathered at the back exit. Moonshiner opened the door and they poured out, while inside we could hear in the distance the sound of a plane flying into our airfield. We knew another body was likely on board, this time carrying the remains of a soldier from a neighboring town.” 0 likes
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