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"All American is riveting and grand-that rare pairing of exquisite writing and unassailable research. Crawford delivers you to an age when iconic titans like Jim Thorpe and Pop Warner marched across the planet, and he is the perfect guide to their enormous triumphs and tragedies. This is epic American history at its page-turning finest." -Bill Minutaglio, author of City on Fire and First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty He was the greatest football running back of his era, leading his Carlisle Indian Industrial School team to victory over all the great college powerhouses. King Gustav of Sweden called him "the greatest athlete in the world" after he won gold medals for the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games. Yet Jim Thorpe was also at the center of the greatest sports scandal of the twentieth century-a scandal that took away his Olympic medals and banned him forever from intercollegiate sports. Now, in this revealing new biography, Bill Crawford captures Jim Thorpe's remarkable rise and fall. From his youth on Oklahoma's Sac and Fox Indian reservation to his astounding feats on the gridiron, from his Olympic triumphs to his complex relationship with coach "Pop" Warner, who mentored, exploited, and ultimately betrayed him, All American brings you up close and personal with the greatest athlete of the twentieth century.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780471557326
ISBN-10: 0471557323
Format: Hardback
(236mm x 161mm x 24mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: John Wiley & Sons Inc
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publish Date: 9-Nov-2004
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Bad enough to have been used for athletic talent. But to be betrayed by one's coach and manager? There's the crux of this modest contribution to sports history. Sports scouts first reckoned that Jim Thorpe (1888-1953) was something special when they saw him play for the US Indian School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. There, writes Texas journalist Crawford (Stevie Ray Vaughn: Caughter in the Crossfire, not reviewed), Thorpe came under the tutelage of the legendary Glenn Scobey Warner, "the first modern king-coach," who blended moments of stiff correctness with a love of drink, smoke, gambling, joking, painting, and poetry, and "who was not afraid of kicking, punching, or beating his players when he felt they deserved it." Now enshrined in football history, "Pop" Warner was also frequently in trouble with intercollegiate and international athletic boards everywhere for his fast-and-loose approach to the rules: Thorpe, for instance, was 21 when he was playing for the boarding school, excelling in basketball, baseball, track and field, and football, and he was not the oldest of the players. He received small stipends of various kinds, and he had also received fees for playing for minor-league teams before he earned fame and glory in the decathlon and pentathlon competitions at the 1912 Olympic Games. When a Massachusetts paper revealed his professional past, Thorpe was stripped of his Olympic honors. Writes Crawford, "The scandal threatened to expose the financial details of the Carlisle Athletic Association, Warner's business empire that operated on the edge of legality." Warner believed that the story was meant to force Thorpe out of the amateur ranks and into the majors, but he disavowed Thorpe all the same: "Thorpe would have to take the fall, and Warner would have to push him." Fortunately for Warner, Thorpe did take the fall, gracefully and effectively ending his career. It would be more than half a century before the International Olympic Committee struck the word "amateur" from its charter and allowed players like Thorpe to compete. An athlete who merits recognition today, here given justifiable due. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Bill Crawford

Bill Crawford is a journalist and media producer who has written for Texas Monthly, the Austin Chronicle, and other publications. He is the coauthor of Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire and the author or coauthor of several other books.

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