"...Sublimely ties together the drama of high school football, gender politics, and the impact of war on a small town in Texas." – Sports Illustrated
A 2019 One of the Best Books So For—Newsweek.com
A cross between Friday Night Lights and The Atomic City Girls, When The Men Were Gone is a debut historical novel based on the true story of Tylene Wilson, a woman in 1940's Texas who, in spite of extreme opposition, became a female football coach in order to keep her students from heading off to war.
Football is the heartbeat of Brownwood, Texas. Every Friday night for as long as assistant principal Tylene Wilson can remember, the entire town has gathered in the stands, cheering their boys on. Each September brings with it the hope of a good season and a sense of unity and optimism.
Now, the war has changed everything. Most of the Brownwood men over 18 and under 45 are off fighting, and in a small town the possibilities are limited. Could this mean a season without football? But no one counted on Tylene, who learned the game at her daddy's knee. She knows more about it than most men, so she does the unthinkable, convincing the school to let her take on the job of coach.
Faced with extreme opposition—by the press, the community, rival coaches, and referees and even the players themselves—Tylene remains resolute. And when her boys rally around her, she leads the team—and the town—to a Friday night and a subsequent season they will never forget.
Based on a true story, When the Men Were Gone is a powerful and vibrant novel of perseverance and personal courage.