Sheinkin, Steve. Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team
January 17th 2017 by Roaring Brook Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
While the vast majority of this book centers on Thorpe himself, there is a lot of good background information on the Carlisle School as well as the policies and politics surrounding the treatment of Native Americans at this time. Sheinkin always paints obsessively detailed accounts of history, and Undefeated is no exception. We get a complete overview of Thorpe's life from his time before being sent to the school to his later career. Along the way, we are treated to plenty of football plays and nailbiting descriptions of games.
What I found most interesting was that Thorpe was allowed to play for what amounted to a high school team that was playing colleges for many years, even after he left to work on his relative's farm, but there was a great deal of difficulty about him having played "professional" baseball before winning just about every track event in the Olympics. In fact, he lost all of the medals that were awarded to him after his baseball career was revealed. Also, even though he was an excellent football player, there were no pro teams for him to join, so he ended up playing baseball for a while.
Sheinkin does a great job at mixing historical events with football details. At 288 pages, this was a little more information than I wanted, but I will definitely purchase a copy, if only to go along with Meehl's Blowback '07.
Oddly, this book made me REALLY want to watch Gene Kelly in Take Me Out to the Ballgame!