Read Carlisle Vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle by Lars Anderson Online


A stunning work of narrative nonfiction, Carlisle vs. Army recounts the fateful 1912 gridiron clash that pitted one of America’s finest athletes, Jim Thorpe, against the man who would become one of the nation’s greatest heroes, Dwight D. Eisenhower. But beyond telling the tale of this momentous event, Lars Anderson also reveals the broader social and historical context ofA stunning work of narrative nonfiction, Carlisle vs. Army recounts the fateful 1912 gridiron clash that pitted one of America’s finest athletes, Jim Thorpe, against the man who would become one of the nation’s greatest heroes, Dwight D. Eisenhower. But beyond telling the tale of this momentous event, Lars Anderson also reveals the broader social and historical context of the match, lending it his unique perspectives on sports and culture at the dawn of the twentieth century.This story begins with the infamous massacre of the Sioux at Wounded Knee, in 1890, then moves to rural Pennsylvania and the Carlisle Indian School, an institution designed to “elevate” Indians by uprooting their youths and immersing them in the white man’s ways. Foremost among those ways was the burgeoning sport of football. In 1903 came the man who would mold the Carlisle Indians into a juggernaut: Glenn “Pop” Warner, the son of a former Union Army captain. Guided by Warner, a tireless innovator and skilled manager, the Carlisle eleven barnstormed the country, using superior team speed, disciplined play, and tactical mastery to humiliate such traditional powerhouses as Harvard, Yale, Michigan, and Wisconsin–and to, along the way, lay waste American prejudices against Indians. When a troubled young Sac and Fox Indian from Oklahoma named Jim Thorpe arrived at Carlisle, Warner sensed that he was in the presence of greatness. While still in his teens, Thorpe dazzled his opponents and gained fans across the nation. In 1912 the coach and the Carlisle team could feel the national championship within their grasp.Among the obstacles in Carlisle’s path to dominance were the Cadets of Army, led by a hardnosed Kansan back named Dwight Eisenhower. In Thorpe, Eisenhower saw a legitimate target; knocking the Carlisle great out of the game would bring glory both to the Cadets and to Eisenhower. The symbolism of this matchup was lost on neither Carlisle’s footballers nor on Indians across the country who followed their exploits. Less than a quarter century after Wounded Knee, the Indians would confront, on the playing field, an emblem of the very institution that had slaughtered their ancestors on the field of battle and, in defeating them, possibly regain a measure of lost honor.Filled with colorful period detail and fascinating insights into American history and popular culture, Carlisle vs. Army gives a thrilling, authoritative account of the events of an epic afternoon whose reverberations would be felt for generations."Carlisle vs. Army is about football the way that The Natural is about baseball.”–Jeremy Schaap, author of I...

Title : Carlisle Vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle
Author :
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ISBN : 9781400066001
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 349 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Carlisle Vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle Reviews

  • Steven Peterson
    2018-11-27 06:51

    In 1912, one of the classic American football games was played--between Carlisle and mighty Army. A book published in 2007 covers much of the same territory, "The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation" by Sally Jenkins--and covers it well. But Lars Anderson's book, approaching the issues differently, likewise has created a wonderful examination of that game and events leading up to it. The structure of Anderson's book weaves the story of three people together, culminating in that 1912 context. First, legendary coach Pop Warner; second, the great Indian athlete, Jim Thorpe; third, a gritty undersized football player and future military leader, Dwight Eisenhower. What was at stake in the Carlisle-Army game might be summarized by a segment of the pep talk Warner gave his team just before the contest began: "Remember it was their fathers and grandfathers who destroyed your way of life. Remember Wounded Knee. Remember all of this on every play. Let's go." And so the Indian team from Carlisle took on the Army team with those words ringing in their ears. How did we get to this point? The book describes the arc of Warner's life, his childhood, his becoming an attorney, and the strange voyage leading him into coaching. Early on, he was a vagabond, moving from team to team (even leaving the position at Carlisle a bit before returning). He was an innovator and could inspire his team. Then there was Thorpe, from the American Southwest. Growing up, he was always restless, would run away from school routinely. He ended up at Carlisle, but ran away from that institution, too. The book illustrates his foray into professional baseball during one such hiatus (which, of course, was to come back to haunt him). Upon his return to Carlisle, he led them ably. The story of his Olympic heroics are also recounted. Then, Ike, who--paradoxically enough--also played professional baseball under an assumed name ("Wilson"), but he was never caught for that behavior. The story of the undersized, hot tempered youth who ended up going to West Point, desperate to make the football team. The three narratives come together with that game on November 9th, 1912. The story of the game itself is well told (no sense giving away all the elements). Then, the story of the aftermath for all three protagonists. This is indeed a spellbinding historical tale. The book is well researched and well written, filled with details that provide depth to the subjects of this work. Highly recommended for those with an interest in the subject. . . .

  • Terry
    2018-11-23 06:30

    Of the three historical figures whose lives Anderson traces to their intersection at a football game between Army and the Carlisle Indian School in 1912, I find myself most interested in the life of Carlisle's coach, "Pop" Warner. Although I suspect a bit of myth-making in the attribution of nearly every football innovation of the first few decades of the 20th century to this one man, I find that Warner's wily tactics translate to the page more effectively than Jim Thorpe's athletic grace or Dwight Eisenhower's Midwestern grit. Besides a host of outrageous trick plays and useful new formations, Warner is said to have pioneered the manipulation of the news media in order to publicize his program. Part of Warner's strategy, it seems, was to spread false reports about player injuries and fatigue in order to give his opponents a false confidence and to convince the public that his powerhouse team was really the underdog in the coming match-up. Obviously, the trick only worked for so long before audiences caught on.In a similar way, however, we readers catch on to the author's trick of hyping up every one of the forty or more athletic contests that he describes in the three hundred pages of small type that lead up to "the clash of heroes." It doesn't take long for one game to blend into another, one brilliant Thorpe run into the next. One more win for Carlisle. One more act of determination from Eisenhower. One more not-very-insightfully-considered vignette about American racism. It's not that there isn't a lot of interesting material here: questions about cultural assimilation; questions about violence and the value of sport; questions about public image, fame, and the creation of popular icons. All of these are central issues of American identity, and the book knows they're there. It just doesn't seem to know how to probe at those questions in meaningful ways. And, without such probing, there's really only enough here for a long magazine feature.

  • Meg
    2018-11-14 02:58

    This book is not about football as much as it is about Native Americans finding their way in white society only a generation after their fathers and grandfathers had settled on reservations in the west. The book chronicles the lives of Pop Warner, head football coach at Carlisle Indian Boarding school, Jim Thorpe, a Sauc/Fox indian and naturally phenomenal all-around athlete from a reservation in Oklahoma who would go on to win multiple gold medals in his first and only Olympics, and Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower while he was a student and varsity football player at West Point Military College. The story revolves around the lives of these three men and the day the U.S. soldiers (of West Point) and the Indians (of Carlisle Indian Boarding School) met to wage a new sort of battle only two decades after the massacre at Wounded Knee. The story of Jim Thorpe's incredible and seemingly effortless feats as an athlete alone makes the book worth reading. After all, I don't even like football.

  • Mark Stratton
    2018-11-18 06:53

    A book about a football game that is about far more than a football game. In the early 20th Century, the traditional College Football powers were in the Northeast part of the country. Army aspired to that level of greatness, and so did the Carlisle Indian School. This book traces the lives of three Legends, Pop Warner, Jim Thorpe and Dwight Eisenhower. Decent, yet hardly deep and resonate biographies of each man are presented, along with a nice historical overview of College Football through 1912, the development of the game, Carlisle's beginnings and its rise to football prominence and the Army team as well.The book reads in places like a novel, you forget you're reading 'history' and it sparkles in places. It's a fascinating book, looking at a part of history that is not often talked about, three men who are barely remembered as mortals but icons and a game that was one of the biggest at the time and place. A book of Legends that needed to be written.Recommended.

  • Joshua
    2018-11-30 07:42

    Very entertaining book about the early days of college football--much different than the modern game of today. By early days I mean the early 20th century up to a game played between the Carlisle Indian School and Army in 1912. Carlisle had a star athlete from Oklahoma by the name of Jim Thorpe; Army had Dwight Eisenhower; Carlisle coach was Pop Warner. The book is a great combination of sport history, suspense and description of what it was like for Natives at this time culturally. By the end when the game actually occurs I was rooting very hard for Carlisle to beat Army and beat them roundly. Before the game, Warner delivers maybe one of the all-time pregame speeches to the Carlisle players--urging them to remember that these Army players may be related to the soldiers who killed relatives of theirs! It doesn't get any more intense than that. Great book if you are into sport history, Thorpe/Eisenhower, Indian culture...

  • Raymond Bial
    2018-11-23 07:33

    This book is more fiction than fact...and lots of hype. It is pitted with errors, small and large. This game was never "football's greatest battle" and it was simply a coincidence that Eisenhower and Thorpe played against each other. I am not convinced that the Carlisle Indians were trying to get even with "whites," especially descendants of Army cavalry attending West Point. I am also not convinced that Eisenhower was so obsessed with taking Thorpe out of the game by physically injuring him. Eisenhower, Thorpe, and Warner are fascinating people and one would be better advised reading authoritative biographies of them by historians, not journalists.

  • Eric
    2018-11-16 07:47

    There's no half star available on the rating scale here - I'd really put this book around 3.5 stars.I liked this book and the slice of history it represents. One of my favorite parts of this book is the way it ties together the other things that were happening at the time when the game in question was set to go off. Historic context is very important. It's also fascinating to draw parallels to things that still happen today, around 100 years later.I did struggle with the way the story flow of the book was chopped up. The author went backward and forward across the time line even in the same chapter and more than once it pushed me out of my momentum so it took longer to read than it might have otherwise.I find this book more interesting based on the simple fact that I, and my parents and my sisters family, live very near where these things took place. When I mentioned this book or folks in this area saw the cover they generally had some knowledge already about the famous Jim Thorpe. There is a lingering sense of pride even after those same 100 years and all the related issues.IF you happen to be near the central Pennsylvania area you will find this book of interest. Some of the places mentioned are still around. If you're a fan of football as it is played today, it is worth digging into this story to get a sense of why the game is what it is and how we've landed where we are. I've heard other versions of Pop Warner's story, not in connection with Jim Thorpe and it interests me to see the contrasts. A different view point is always good to have. I Recommend this book based on those particulars.

  • Ken Cartisano
    2018-12-13 04:30

    This book is very well researched, presented, arranged and composed. The subject is compelling: The crossing paths of three extraordinary men of the 20th Century. Dwight Eisenhower, Jim Thorpe and Pop Warner. The writing could be better, in the recreation of some of the scenes, it too often conveys a tone of false drama, but the characters are what hold your attention throughout the book. Some of the facts revealed about football itself were remarkable, and I’m quite the football fan. The author could have included more detail on the evolution of football, which Pop Warner, as much or more than anyone else, helped to bring about. It would have served the author well if he had provided some kind of table to illustrate the rules changes along side Pop Warner’s and Jim Thorpe’s career path.Still, it's a competent exploration of a specific slice of American history.

  • Daniel Wolfert
    2018-11-16 05:53

    I got this book the year it was published. I was preteen who loved football and history. I had moved to Carlisle after my father had retired from the military. The combination of the topics of this book seemed perfect for me. I remember enjoying this book when I was younger as read about the skillful Jim Thorpe and the genius Pop Warner.

  • Kevin Kery
    2018-12-06 05:29

    This was a simply wonderful book. It appears to be pretty painstakingly researched, even if a great deal of the narrative is admittedly "filled in" by the author. I've been fascinated with the Carlisle Indian School since 2004 when I briefly lived on on the campus of a Jesuit run reservation school in South Dakota. To read about Thorpe, who to my understanding is still firmly within godlike status to most natives, was incredibly gratifying. Anderson won me over by telling his story in a positive fashion, only adding the athletes tragic end as a post-script. I frequently laughed at "Pop" Warner's zany innovations as well, including one play where he sent a player off the field to run up the sidelines before receiving a pass in bounds. Apparently there wasn't a rule in the book yet and Warner took advantage of it. At times the prose gets repetitive and it feels like Anderson is belaboring the same point and even the same phrase, but over all this is most assuredly a book that is worthy of your time and attention!

  • Elgin
    2018-11-27 03:29

    This was a fantastic story, all the more so because it is true. Most interesting were the biographies Pop Warnerand the stories of Jim Thorpe and Dwight Eisenhower through their football playing days. The author did a good jobof describing what life was like for Indians in those days (only a couple of dozen years after the Wounded Knee massacre.)The people who dedicated their lives to native americans in those days (however misguided their motives) are to be admired.I most enjoyed reading about Thorpe's athletic feats on and off of the football field. Even reading about some of the amazing runs he made on the field left me amazed. Sure wish I could have seen him in person. Overall, a great andinspiring story.

  • Doug
    2018-12-01 03:39

    This book tells some of the same story as Sally Jenkins' "The Real All-Americans," but this one focuses on the rivalry between The US Military Academy's football team and that of Carlisle Academy. This was a chance for the Native Americans, whose last encounters with the US Army had ended in tragedy, humiliation and a loss of their previous way of life, to gain some measure of revenge. Meanwhile, the cadtes were a proud, ambitious group of overacievers themselves, led by none other than Dwight Eisenhower. Really an interesting read and an inisightful glimpse into an important piece of American history.

  • Tim Wilhelm
    2018-11-19 01:54

    This book, regardless of my biased dislike of football, was a fascinating educational experience. Suspense mixed with Anderson's impeccable, passionate writing (he is a writer for Sports Illustrated, after all) really captivated me even if I had no interest whatsoever in the sport or didn't comprehend the terms involved in the sport. Even though the author obviously was an avid football fan, he did an excellent job with sticking to the history and main characters. The story did have occasional tendencies of becoming drawn out and a chore to read, but the characters had an unparalleled liveliness to them. A monumental and moving book, overall.

  • Bonnie_blu
    2018-11-20 23:49

    Before reading this book, I had only a very basic knowledge of Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School. Anderson's book gives a fascinating account of the origin and growth of the school and the role Jim Thorpe played in its football team's rise to fame in the early part of the twentieth century. As the title states, Thorpe and the school played West Point when Dwight Eisenhower was a cadet and on the football team. While I don't think the match up between Eisenhower and Thorpe is important, the story of Carlisle, Thorpe, Pop Warner, and the history of early football is riveting.

  • John Heuvelman
    2018-11-18 05:52

    Very interesting book. It was written as a parallel biography of Jim Thorpe (with Pop Warner) and Ike, with the culmination in the football game played between Carlisle Indian School and the U.S. Military Academy. The book provided not only factual information, but insight into the personalities involved and their motivations. Although the events took place 100 years ago and more, Anderson brings them back to live as if they had just happened.For fans of football, especially those with an interest in college football's very early days, this is a very engaging read.

  • Nathan
    2018-11-25 05:47

    An interesting topic. I've always been fascinated by Jim Thorpe and was happy to learn more about him. Considering his raw athletic abilities, it's almost scary to think about how good he could have been if he had fulfilled his potential. I didn't think the writing in this book was all that great, but that could have also been skewed by the fact that I read a book by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Barbara Tuchman right before this.

  • Dustin long
    2018-11-21 04:53

    Good read on a football game in 1912 between Army with future president Dwight Eisenhower and the Carlisle school (for native Americans) that feaured Jim Thorpe and its place in history. Detailed narrative that is well researched and gives you a sense of what life was like back then. If you think about the details the author revales, you marvel at the work it took to gather all that information.

  • Jamon
    2018-11-29 23:32

    Heard the peice on NPR while living by Carlisle, but apparently Carlisle Indian school waited all season to show the forward pass at the final game against army. According to the author, as soon as the fans saw the spiral go for 30 years, they all of the sudden starting routing for the agile native americans to beat the brutish Army. Now living by West Point I can not imagine such fan fickle-ness.

  • Chandler
    2018-11-19 02:34

    Overall enjoyable read. The author used painstaking research to recreate a time in college football history where little to no games were filmed with motion pictures or cameras. His lengthy descriptions of games culled from newspaper articles recreated the events that led up to this historical confrontation with a lot of gusto. However, the mini autobiographies of both Thorpe and Eisenhower seemed tacked on and unnecessary to the overall story being told.

  • Alger
    2018-11-27 05:51

    A superior book related in a breezy style.The Carlisle School v West Point Game of 1912 was arguably the moment that made football America's game, and a real competitor to baseball. There isn't much here that is new information, but the telling recombines the elements into a parallel biography of Thorpe and Ike whose time on the football field is explicitly a reenactment of Wounded Knee and a moment of revenge for decades of humiliation on the part of the Carlisle team.

  • Lynn Green
    2018-12-11 05:58

    I enjoyed reading this story which is at once a look into early college football, Native American history, and the biographies of two Americans who met in an epic college football game. I particularly liked the parts about Jim Thorpe, and his life growing up in Oklahoma Territory.

  • Chris Bailey
    2018-11-24 01:39

    Awesome story of the early years of college football. Carlisle vs. Army covers some of the history leading up to that game and the history of the legendary figures that played in it. I recommend it for people who are interested in Native American Sports figures or football history.

  • Bjoy Davidson
    2018-12-05 01:35

    As a big football fan (go hapless Browns and Wolverines) this history of the game is really interesting. As a look at how White Europeans decided the fate of the "savages" also interesting and important to be reminded of.

  • Herman Padilla
    2018-12-14 07:42

    It was OK, lots of period information I hadn't known about but I've read so many good books lately this one suffered in comparison I found I was just trying to rush through it so I could get to my next book

  • Rob O'd
    2018-11-19 03:57

    What I learned - I need to read more about Dwight Eisenhower. Learned so much about Carlisle College, Pop Warner, Jim Thorpe - too much to list here.

  • Christopher Walsh
    2018-11-26 04:53

    If you're a college football fan and like history (like I do) just read it. Trust me, you'll really like it.

  • Karen
    2018-11-30 00:46

    Excellant book.

  • Steven Freeman
    2018-12-12 00:55

    Great book about the influence of football on Jim Thorpe and Dwight Eisenhower and how Pop Warner helped to invent modern football.

  • Johnny
    2018-12-06 00:48

    a good book on the early days of football as well as the early military career of Eisenhower and not mention the role of Jim Thorpe on the American sports landscape

  • Joy
    2018-11-28 07:55

    While wandering through my favorite book store I stumbled upon a "Football" table full of books - and this one was on it. First few pages have been interesting - looking forward to the rest of it.