Wednesday, July 12, 2017

UNDEFEATED: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin.  New York:  Roaring Book Press, 2017.

Jim Thorpe's story actually begins with his introduction to head coach, Pop Warner, at a football tryout at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.  Backgrounds on both men reveal their shared drive to be the best and their love of football.  Thorpe, along with many other Native Americans, was sent to the Carlisle school to adapt to the food, language, clothing and work habits of white people.  Warner, hailing from a ranching family, studied law at Cornell University and played varsity football there before coaching at Carlisle.  Once the two men were on the same team as player and coach, the Carlisle Indian School football team became victorious and famous, despite blatant discrimination against Native Americans.  Jim was a super athlete, participating in other sports and the 1912 Olympics.  His name is recognized to this very day.  One hundred years after his coaching career, "Pop Warner" football leagues are found around the country for children who want to learn the sport.  The book has 280 pages of solid information, 45 of which are Source Notes, Works Cited, and an Index.  Sheinkin documents this very readable story with a generous number of photographs in each chapter, living up to his reputation as National Book Award Finalist.
 Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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