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When the Men Were Gone

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  2,028 ratings  ·  419 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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Average rating 3.69  · 
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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
In Texas, football is sacred. Everyone knows it, including Tylene Wilson, the assistant principal of Brownwood High School. Having grown up sharing a love for football with her father, Tylene is devastated when the school begins to think about canceling the 1944 season. The truth is that there are no men in town that are willing or capable of coaching high school football; they're all off at war or struggling through their injuries. Knowing that canceling the season means many boys dropping out ...more
Deacon Tom F
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Strong Female Character!

I thought that “When the Men Were Gone," was a winner of a story. It is a combination football and WWII novel about women in leadership.

The setting is in Texas during WWII. As the title indicated, the men were gone, and the high school young men were next to join in the war effort.

It was very interesting for me. I don't remember reading about what happened during this time. I knew in large cities that women worked in factories but what happened in the small towns?

This i
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on the true story of Tylene Wilson, a woman who stepped in to coach the high school football team in the early 1940s. Set in Brownwood, Texas where football reigns supreme. As a young girl, Tylene spent time with her father tossing the football, and the two rarely missed a Friday night Brownwood game. She developed a passion for the game and could diagram plays to rival those of the coach. So when their current football coach, along with most of the eligible men, was off fighting in WWII, ...more
If the Hallmark Channel wrote a love note to Texas women and football, it would be this book.

TX, WWII. Brownwood needs a football coach; the last 2 went to war and one came back dead. If the boys don’t have football, they’ll also go to war and they’ll also die. So it’s up to the super-capable, ridiculously perfect Tylene Wilson, born 1900 and indoctrinated to her love of football in 1905, to step in.

I was disappointed in how saccharine this story is. Tylene is far too perfect, the town is far to
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
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-tangible
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 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
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
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
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
My reading year isn't off to an illustrious start. I read this for my Face to Face book club (which I don't always attend, but I like to read what is suggested).

What I liked about this book is it introduced me to a woman, Tylene Wilson, that coached football in a small town in Texas during WWII. I am from Texas and I like to know about moments in Texas history. So thanks Ms. Herrera Lewis for introducing me to Tylene.

I just didn't feel the story is well developed and flushed out. The chapters a
Quick read. The story had a ton of potential but the writing wasn’t quite there.
Susan Peterson
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you, Marjorie Lewis, for telling Tylene’s story! I read this book in one afternoon! I was thoroughly engrossed and moved emotionally by her story. Although the premise of this story is how a woman came to coach a high school football team in Texas during WWII, a fascinating story on its own, this book is about so much more than that. There were so many times that I wiped tears from my eyes, as the families dealt with the loss of sons and brothers during the war. Aside from football, the hi ...more
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:
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book Club selection for February. 212 pages. One-day read. Five stars? OK, this isn't a Middlemarch kind of five-star book, but this really got the stars legitimately in my reaction. Based on a true story
--check. Set during World War II, one of my favorite periods of history--check. A feminist story without being a "feminist" story--check. A story of family, the kind you come home to and the kind you build in your community--check. A bit of a coming-of-age story (one of my favorite genres)--chec
When I met the author for this book, I was so impressed. I thought, "Now here is a WWII historical fiction that I want to read!" So I did. And honestly...this should have been a screenplay.

It's rare that I say this. But I think I have some street cred here when it comes to playwriting and screenwriting (not a ton, but enough to make this argument). This shouldn't have been a book. This story needed to be told with a visual medium and it's short enough anyway, it could have worked. And it still c
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.
Jj Grilliette
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I would have preferred a non-fiction version with more information about the rest of the season and maybe what happened to some of the boys that played football that year. Were they drafted? What happened? Did any of them say she really helped them? I liked at the end of the book where the author said what was true. I also liked hearing about the author and why she wanted to right about this woman.
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!
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
May 07, 2020 rated it liked it
A woman coaching High School football in Texas sounds pretty difficult even today- this story is about a woman facing the difficulties of doing that in 1944, after the previous coach was killed in the war and his replacement enlisted. I liked the story and the topic was interesting even tho I don't understand much American Football... I enjoy sports stories and historical fiction so a combination of those was something I was looking forward to. The writing left something to be desired; I'm not a ...more
Diane Standish
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
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rarely watch football and understand only the basics of the game so those details in the book were gibberish to me, but the story was brilliant anyway. I was really rooting for Tylene, Moose and the boys. I wished there was just a little more information about the real life Tylene at the end such as how long she coached, what her win/loss record was etc. but the story as told was nicely complete. (view spoiler)
Popsugar 2019: A novel
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.
I'm a football girl. Like Tylene, I became a football girl in the stands of the local HS team on Friday nights. I often and regularly "joke" about taking over coaching duties for said local team and/or an NFL franchise. We've all heard the stories of women working in the factories and other holes the men left behind during the war - but one I'd never thought about before was on the sidelines. This was a fascinating story, made even better by being based in truth. There's football, there's histor ...more
Sydney Young
My memories of high school football games and all the emotions they invoke are great. And I love underdog stories, especially when it comes to women and World War II. So when I heard of "When the Men Were Gone," I knew it was something I want to read (hear), and in fact I bought it right away, then I allowed it to sit in my audio queue.

I shouldn't have waited and I'd like to save you from making that mistake, too. Because sportswriter Majorie Herrera Lewis's new little book is a gem and a real t
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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.” 1 likes
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