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The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nationby Sally Jenkins
Synopses & Reviews
Sally Jenkins, bestselling co-author of It's Not About the Bike, revives a forgotten piece of history in The Real All Americans. In doing so, she has crafted a truly inspirational story about a Native American football team that is as much about football as Lance Armstrong's book was about a bike.
If youd guess that Yale or Harvard ruled the college gridiron in 1911 and 1912, youd be wrong. The most popular team belonged to an institution called the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Its story begins with Lt. Col. Richard Henry Pratt, a fierce abolitionist who believed that Native Americans deserved a place in American society. In 1879, Pratt made a treacherous journey to the Dakota Territory to recruit Carlisles first students.
Years later, three students approached Pratt with the notion of forming a football team. Pratt liked the idea, and in less than twenty years the Carlisle football team was defeating their Ivy League opponents and in the process changing the way the game was played.
Sally Jenkins gives this story of unlikely champions a breathtaking immediacy. We see the legendary Jim Thorpe kicking a winning field goal, watch an injured Dwight D. Eisenhower limping off the field, and follow the glorious rise of Coach Glenn “Pop” Warner as well as his unexpected fall from grace.
The Real All Americans is about the end of a culture and the birth of a game that has thrilled Americans for generations. It is an inspiring reminder of the extraordinary things that can be achieved when we set aside our differences and embrace a common purpose.
"In this sprawling, heavily researched sports tale, author and Washington Post reporter Jenkins (It's Not About the Bike, with Lance Armstrong) covers more than a half-century-from mid-19th century battles between the U.S. Army and Native Americans to the 1918 closing of Pennsylvania's seminal Carlisle Indian Industrial School-telling the long-buried story of Carlisle's football team (the Indians, natch), which defied tradition and arguably did more to shape the modern collegiate game than any of its Ivy League competitors. Founded in 1879 by Army Lt. Col. Richard Pratt, an abolitionist who believed Native Americans deserved a visible place in U.S. society, Carlisle introduced fans and opponents to shoulder pads, the forward pass and the reverse option. Led by renowned coach Glenn 'Pop' Warner and player Jim Thorpe, regarded as one of the greatest athletes America has produced, the Indians' struggles, especially with racial and political bigotry, prove surprisingly prescient (think Don Imus). That said, Jenkins shoehorns so much peripheral history that football often takes a back seat; in addition, her detached narration gives the book a term-paper feel, made all the more obvious by the enthusiasm and pride she details in her subjects." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Jenkins gives this story of unlikely champions a breathtaking immediacy that serves as an inspiring reminder of the extraordinary things that can be achieved when people set aside their differences and embrace a common purpose.
About the Author
SALLY JENKINS is an award-winning journalist for the Washington Post and the author of eight books, three of which were New York Times bestsellers, most notably Its Not About the Bike with Lance Armstrong. Her work has been featured in GQ and Sports Illustrated, and she has acted as a correspondent on CNBC as well as on NPR's All Things Considered. She lives in New York City.
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