Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army

by Art Coulson (Author) Nick Hardcastle (Illustrator)

In the autumn of 1912, the football team from Carlisle Indian Industrial School took the field at the U.S. Military Academy, home to the bigger, stronger, and better-equipped West Points Cadets.

Sportswriters billed the game as a sort of rematch, pitting against each other the descendants of U.S. soldiers and American Indians who fought on the battlefield only 20 years earlier. But for lightning-fast Jim Thorpe and the other Carlisle players, that day's game was about skill, strategy, and determination.

Known for unusual formations and innovative plays, the Carlisle squad was out to prove just one thing--that it was the best football team in all the land.

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School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 1-5--In 1912, the Carlisle Indian School football team defeated Army, the U.S. Military Academy team at West Point. It was an exciting game, which pitted the quick, nimble players from Carlisle against the strong defense of the West Point Cadets. Detailed pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations reveal the excitement of the Carlisle win and Jim Thorpe's athletic prowess, but also show the pain that Native children suffered when they were forced to attend boarding schools where the goal was to strip them of their culture--to change their dress and forbid them to speak their languages or practice their religion. The back matter reveals the more disturbing aspects of this true story--that many children died at the residential schools; that Thorpe had to give up the Olympic medals he won when officials learned that he had played professional baseball; and that Carlisle's famous coach, "Pop" Warner, was fired from Carlisle because of abusive behavior. This book shows that there is much to admire about Jim Thorpe and his career, without whitewashing history. VERDICT A first choice for nonfiction picture book biography collections.--Myra Zarnowski, City University of New York

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Capstone Editions
Publication date
August 20, 2018
Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Picture Books
BISAC categories
JNF007050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Cultural Heritage
JNF018040 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - Native American
JNF007100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Sports & Recreation
JNF054050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Sports & Recreation | Football
Library of Congress categories
United States
Thorpe, Jim
Indian athletes
United States Military Academy
United States Indian School (Carlisle, Pa.)

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