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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 you’d guess that Yale or Harvard ruled the college gridiron in 1911 and 1912, you’d be wrong. The most popular team belonged to an institution called the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Its story begins with Lt. ...
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 you’d guess that Yale or Harvard ruled the college gridiron in 1911 and 1912, you’d 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 Carlisle’s 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.
Here is the fascinating history of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and its founder, regular U.S. Army officer and abolitionist Richard Henry Pratt, and the influence of the team on the game of football. Many will find the story of the closing of the American frontier, the defeat of the Native tribes, and their placement on reservations to be more interesting than the football craze of the late 1800s. The grudging acceptance by whites that Indians were not "savages" was hastened by the kind of football the Carlisle Indians played. Outweighed by more than 20 pounds per man each game, the Indians succeeded through speed, teamwork, and innovation (wing-T formation, double wing, forward pass). They also displayed sportsmanship, "out gentlemanning" their white opponents in an era in which slugging and eye-gouging the other team were the norm. Read by Don Leslie, this program is recommended for sports, history, or Native American collections.
Adult/High School -Jim Thorpe and Pop Warner may be familiar names, but it's unlikely that teens have heard of U.S. Army Captain Richard Henry Pratt or the Sioux leader American Horse. Jenkins introduces readers to these figures and others in her vivid social history of the decline of American Indian culture and the development of college football. Her lively writing features unbiased descriptions of major historical figures, thumbnail sketches of minor personalities, and cameos by Mark Twain and President Eisenhower. The book opens with familiar events-the battles between Native Americans and U.S. Army soldiers over Western territories and the abysmal treatment Native American tribes received at the hands of the government. Less widely known is Captain Pratt's dream of providing educational opportunities for Indians and his founding of the Carlisle Indian Training School in Pennsylvania. Jenkins's strength is in her sports writing; the most compelling sections of the book are descriptions of the Indians at Carlisle inventing new plays and prevailing against all odds in pivotal games against Harvard and West Point. The volume is enhanced by an eight-page spread of black-and-white photos with detailed captions. All Americans is a history book of heartbreaking stories that will appeal to teens interested in football or Native American history; it also has value as a narrative nonfiction supplement to the U.S. history curriculum.-Sondra VanderPloeg, Tracy Memorial Library, New London, NHCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The hillside on which the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho were about to make such a grisly fool of Lieutenant Colonel William J. Fetterman was dun--colored and bare, with no cover save for some broken rocks that looked as if they had been thrown down by a short--tempered God. There was just one other visible thing on the expanse, the faint double track of the Bozeman Trail, heading off into the immensity that would become Wyoming. The trail sketched westward along a ridge, ragged but decipherable, its ruts worn into the ground by a succession of iron--rimmed wheels bearing the weight of American ambition.
Fetterman and his command of eighty men pushed over the hill and fanned out, barely holding their formation as they chased a handful of Lakota warriors mounted on ponies just ahead, baiting them. The impatient cavalrymen surged forward on their chesty Army horses. Infantrymen grabbed at their stirrups and ran along, trying to keep up.
The braves drawing the soldiers on had been chosen to lead the attack for their exceptional bravery and fighting skills. One of them was Crazy Horse, not yet famous. Another was a patrician twentysix--year--old Oglala--Lakota named American Horse, a burgeoning leader who was participating in one of the many conflicts with whites that would engage him for the rest of his life. (1)
American Horse and his fellow decoys beckoned the soldiers with a variety of ruses. They galloped back and forth on ponies, screeching insults and firing occasional shots. They waved blankets at the cavalry horses, hoping to frighten them into bolting. Every now and then, one of the Indians would appear to tire. He would slow and walk his pony, seeming fatigued. This was another feint, perhaps the most tempting of all. The bluecoats hurried after them, down the Bozeman Trail.
Below, hidden in hollows and gullies on either side of the trail, fully two thousand Oglala, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors awaited the soldiers. They crouched in long grasses, wallows, and swales, holding the lariats of their ponies. Strapped to their bodies were a variety of knives, hatchets, bows, and brilliantly painted shields. They clenched war clubs made of rough triangular rocks bound to heavy wood handles. A few of them had rifles, but mainly they carried bows and arrows, thousands of arrows. (2)
The isolation and the unfamiliarity of the ground should have made Fetterman pause. The geography of the Dakota Territory alone was forbidding. It was just that--territory, not a state or a county, but an indistinct region where the Gilded Age stopped. It was a sunburned and epic American Serengeti, a series of rolling mounds and weather--tortured prairie ridges that stretched as far as the eye could see, covered by scorched hay--colored grasses, only occasionally interrupted by weird rock outcroppings and misshapen trees. Out here, the world was still large and mysterious; not everything had been discovered, surveyed, charted, explained, and blueprinted.
It was a magnificent setting, but an austere one, and it provoked deep apprehension in one Army wife. The country was pervaded by "an almost overpowering sense of stillness," wrote Frances Grummond, whose husband, George, was a cavalry lieutenant riding with Fetterman, "especially at night when conversation could be heard and understood at a long distance." Frances had felt a deep sense of dread since her arrival just a few months earlier. Every cloud seemed to dim the entire landscape; every crack of...