Sheinkin, Steve. Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team. Biography. Roaring Brook, 01/2017. 280pp. $19.99. 978-1-59643-954-2. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 6-12.
Although this works well as a biography of Jim Thorpe, it is as much a history of American football, and the Carlisle Indian School, as it is a biography. Sheinkin does a remarkable job of effortlessly weaving these three topics together so all get their due (the CIP puts it in 796.332). Thorpe’s coach Pop Warner is also a featured topic, and primary sources such as newspaper accounts are often quoted. Thorpe’s youth, family tragedies, Olympic achievements, and other incidents are described in a dramatic way that is sure to grab readers. Sheinkin doesn’t shy away from describing the hateful philosophy and practices of the Carlisle School, which aimed to remove Indian culture from the students, and the prejudice their football team and Thorpe experienced. The chapters are relatively brief, and there is a b&w photo on nearly every other page, which should attract readers of a wide age range. Back matter includes extensive source notes, an index, and list of works cited.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University, iSchool