Describe your latest book.
Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe, a biography of America's greatest all-around athlete. After writing a book about the movies — Burt Lancaster: An American Life — I wanted to jump into the other great area of modern culture and expression, sports. Thorpe (1887-1953) was the first international celebrity athlete at the dawn of organized sports and an American Indian. His life is a cautionary tale of great gifts, passionate fan loyalty, exploitation, trust betrayed, inner demons, feckless waste, and profound regrets. I wrote the book in part to see what the patterns of his life could teach us about how we regard sports and the men and women who play them today. Thorpe's life had never been thoroughly examined and it seemed like a big gap in our history that needed to be filled in.
Why do you write?
To find out what happened and why. It's a compulsion and often a dangerous one. At one point I realized I was getting too ...