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We Will Rise: A True Story of Tragedy and Resurrection in the American Heartland

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  663 ratings  ·  83 reviews
The inspiring true story of the tragic loss and triumphant resurrection of a basketball team and its coach at the heart of a small Indiana town.

By 1977 the University of Evansville’s Purple Aces basketball team had won five small-college national championships. With a charismatic young coach and a freshman phenom, this small Indiana city hoped to see its team shine in the
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 2020 by Little A
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  663 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Start your review of We Will Rise: A True Story of Tragedy and Resurrection in the American Heartland
Excellent book on a sports tragedy

On December 13,1977 a plane crash near Evansville, Indiana killed all on board, including the players,coaches and managers of the Evansville University basketball team. The grieving by the school and city as well as their recovery from this tragedy is the topic of this excellent book by Evansville native Steve Beaven.

He uses his first hand knowledge of the town and the Purple Aces history, along with information from over 150 interviews and many other stories to
Dec 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
To be honest I did not read this entire book. I relegated it to my "will-not-be-finishing-this-one" bookshelf. Way too many details on every coach, player, anyone involved with a coach or player (family & friends) for me to stay interested. Sports nuts interested in decades old high school basketball in a small town will love this!
Richard Propes
I eagerly anticipated reading Steve Beaven's "We Will Rise: A True Story of Tragedy and Resurrection in the American Heartland," a book that remembers the December 13, 1977 plane crash that took the lives of the entire University of Evansville basketball team along with coaches, boosters, and everyone else on the plane. In fact, the lone player to not be on that plane would actually die a mere two weeks later in a car crash.

It was and remains a tragedy that has a permanent place in the Indiana
William Gary Narron
Boring and meaningless

It reads like an infinite number of old newspaper stories. No human interest, no story line, no emotion, no passion.
The author seems not to care why should I.
Steve Eubanks
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As exceptional story of a college and community overcoming devastation and rebuilding a basketball program that was the heart of the town. Beaven lets the story unfold in all its heartache and triumph without any unnecessary theatrics.
Brandon McGuire
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book. It’s far from perfect and won’t be winning any awards, but it’s a wonderful tale of heartbreak and redemption in a struggling town. I’m a sucker for sports books and will generally go out of my way to read whichever one catches my eye.

I had very little knowledge or background of the tragedy surrounding the Evansville basketball team, so I went into this book with an open mind. I liked that the author went out of his way to explain the backgrounds and motivations of the
Michelle Tuite
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Reading 2020
Book 2: We Will Rise: A True Story of Tragedy and Resurrection in the American Heartland by Steve Beaven

Found amazon First Reads through Katie Colcomb Augustine AKA Pink Katie, and tried my first book from that service. You get books that are not published yet. I chose a nonfiction since I had not read one in awhile.

The story is of the 1977 University of Evansville Purple Aces basketball team. One foggy evening they take off late on their flight to their next game, the plane crashes
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly good read for an only occasional basketball fan

This book is not my genre of choice but I saw it and it made me think of my father-in-law, a sports fan from Indiana. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I thought the writing was great and the story was compelling. There were great details and historical background and I loved how the city itself was treated almost as its own character with it’s own personality and biography.

I did get a little confused and bogged down by the very
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't count the number of times I walked through Memorial Plaza, passing these words--"Out of the agony of this hour, we will rise."--without really thinking about the tragedy of the 1977 men's basketball plane crash as anything except a historical event.

This book is heavy to start, introducing us to the players and the promise of their futures even as we know what's going to happen. I have learned so much about the city of Evansville's history and the school's history and it makes me
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am a resident of Evansville, Indiana, the city featured in this book. We were all impacted greatly by the airplane tragedy, and the author did an excellent job of explaining the degree of basketball importance in our city. Some readers are saying there are too many insignificant statistics and details, but true Aces fans appreciate every bit of it. It’s a matter of having the right reading audience.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The writing is strong and details vivid. I enjoyed the book despite not being a huge sports fan.
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
On December 13, 1977, the entire University of Evansville basketball team, their coaching staff, and radio announcer were killed in a plane crash while en route to a game. This novel introduces the players and coaches and explains how they each ended up at UE and how their families, and the town, rebuilt the basketball program after their tragic deaths.

The story is a little scattered, with narratives bouncing between various families, geographies and points of view....but as a lover of NCAA
Scott J Pearson
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
This new release seeks to tell the tale of basketball at the University of Evansville, a small Division I school in Indiana. Like many areas in the American midwest, the community surrounding the school is tight-knit and obsessed with basketball. Before moving into Division I, the program even won several national championships at the Division II level.

There’s a wrinkle in the true story that makes its telling especially emotional. In 1977, the entire basketball team died in a plane crash. A new
Trevor W.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-Written and Compelling Story (Finished a Few Months Too Soon)

No doubt the author wishes he could end the book with hometown son / new coach Walter McCarty taking the Aces into hallowed Rupp Arena against then-number-one-ranked Kentucky and winning in late 2019. I'm a basketball guy, and learned to hate Evansville in the early 90s when they were the conference hegemon who perennially seemed to end my Butler Bulldogs' season and steal the conference's NCAA bid. Damn you, Parrish Casebier! But
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written; details the impact of a tragedy on a community

I was a 15 year old southern Indiana teen when the crash happened. I remember crying when I heard the news.

This is a factual account of the meaning of basketball on small town Indiana. The story of a communitys grief and the struggles to move forward. If you're expecting a happily ever after due to a single hero, this isn't it.
Mr Beaven does a nice job of telling the history of the town so the reader understands how something like
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very compassionate, well researched, inspirational telling of the tragic story of the University of Evansville's basketball team, whose members all died in a plane crash, devastating the university and the city of Evansville & surrounding areas. The triumphant rebuilding of the team in subsequent seasons did much to revitalize & help the university & town come to terms with the loss of such promising young men.
Though this is a work of tragic historical non-fiction, it reads almost
Tim Oberholzer
A fair account

We Will Rise favors the personal side of the Evansville Aces in and through the 1977 plane crash. The story is a good read that does not overwhelm with history or basketball Xs and Os. Two subtle points came up several times in the book that wore on me. First, the author kept referring to the "jet" that crashed. A DC-3 is not a jet. A Douglas DC-3 is a propellered aircraft. The NTSB account of the crash refers to the propellers. It might seem trivial but it made me question whether
Rusty Mason
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well done Steve Beaven. As a 9-year old boy on December 13, 1977, I remember that night vividly. My mother and I ran out our front door after hearing sirens blaring some 4+ miles in the distance, wondering what was going on. We went back inside and my mom turned on the tv to see a tearful David James choking out the horrific news. Having attended Aces games with my parents prior to that fateful night, I was overcome with sadness.

This book brought back so many memories of those magical and
Mr. V
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I very descriptive read that read almost like a history text book. The author does a good job of describing Evansville and the area in a historical context and does a an excellent job of introducing you to the players, coaches and other people connected to Evansville basketball. Where he falls short is connecting you with the emotions that these families and friends suffered. The grief these families had to indoor had to be great and the way it would of spread into the campus and into the ...more
Claire Y
Full disclosure. I'm not a basketball fan, so reading this book was a bit of a challenge for me. However, it was interesting enough for me to finish.

We Will Rise, written by Steve Beaven, is a story of the University of Evansville basketball team that perished in a plane crash on 12/13/77. It is a non fiction book, so expect a lot of statistics, player and coach backgrounds -- before and after the plane crash. You don't read about the plane crash until midway through the book, and it is just a
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-challenge
This book is about a small midwest college town with a big basketball tradition that lost its entire team and coaches in an airplane crash in 1977. Yes, a very "We Are Marshall" situation. Normally I enjoy this type of nonfiction book, but this one is extremely basketball minutia heavy, with a seeming cast of thousands. One reads about the details of both players' and coaches' high school sports careers, about coaches and players prior to and after the doomed Purple Aces, and even a few local ...more
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
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Peter J Strauss
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just downright terrific.

Well written book not only about basketball but about what the sport means to a town that has rolled with more than a few punches-Evansville, Indiana. Devastated by a tragic airplane crash killing the entire team in December 1977, some larger than life coaches and players rebuild the team into a national powerhouse.

Beavan writes in depth homages to those tragically lost and to their families and celebrates those who resurrect the great tradition, while giving hope to the
John Vonhof
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We Will Rise is a fun read, especially for college basketball fans. I struggled at times with the mix of characters and their names, finding it a bit difficult to follow everyone. Once I realized that the author was building a back story to the ACES team, their families, coaches, and community--it made sense. I understood the story and the characters and how everything toes together. The chapters on the plane crash and the loss of the team was difficult to read but formed the basis for the fan's ...more
Kathy A Boyd
Readable but...

As a native of basketball crazy Indiana born the same year and 15 miles from Larry Bird to a basketball fan father I expected more. The first third of the book was so confusing I almost gave up. It skipped around different times and seemingly unrelated people. Only my knowledge of the area and sport kept me reading. It did get better, by part two I was glad to have kept reading. I'm sure the author spent much time researching this book and I appreciate his efforts. I don't believe
Mikayla Upcott
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Overall, I enjoyed this book, not being familiar with Evansville's history and not knowing how it was going to end. But the end wasn't what I was expecting, and it's a true story, so it's not like that could be fixed.
I also couldn't help but be annoyed in the last chapter, when the verb tense of the writing switched from past tense (as it had been in the entire rest of the book) to present tense talking about an event that did, in fact, happen in the past.
I was also confused when the epilogue
Philip Richardson
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Good Basketball Story

This is an excellent story about small college basketball programs. The tragedy surrounding this basketball program is just a small part of the whole story. Fielding a competitive team is a challenge for a small school trying to compete with the larger NCAA Division I schools. Often a winning season falls to the assembled talent left over after the larger programs have have taken the best for themselves. This is a story about the challenges of building and maintaining a
Kim Wilch
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a story

I can’t imagine the research that went into this book, kudos. I’m not a basketball fan so the jargon went over my head, I could still follow the meaning. Had trouble with spiderwebbing, the story veering in unnecessary detail. Overall, I enjoyed the book (minus the tragedy) - I can’t imagine how the families and community dealt with it! Heartfelt condolences to all! Good job taking all the emotions into account to tell this story. The resurrection was inspiring but I’m not sure (as a
Gina Jones
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I gave this book 5 star review as it was well written, historical value and due to my interest in the city of Evansville and the Purple Aces. As a youngster I spent some summers in Evansville, my Dad lived in Evansville as a young man and attended Bosse High. He was an aces fan as well. I also have attended an Aces basketball game and found the experience exciting. The mention of all the great players of the 1970's era was to me an important part of the story. I recommend this book to not only ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
As someone born in the early 80's and about 3 hours from Evansville, I hadn't really heard much about this story.

Overall it was a really good book. Sometimes I felt it went way to far into the back story of each and every name mentioned in the book. But I'd still recommend it.

Unfortunately Steve wrote and published the book too soon. The perfect ending is this book would have been recapping the Aces upset of Kentucky Wildcats in November in November of 2019.
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