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Book Review: The Real All Americans: The Team that Changed a Game, a People, a Nation

The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation . By Sally Jenkins. Photos, 343pp. New York, NY, Doubleday Publishers, 2007. $24.95. 

THE REAL ALL AMERICANS satisfies the reader with an innovative look at the Carlisle Indian School through the perspective of the development of the American sport of football. The unsuspecting sports enthusiast may just find herself intrigued as a previously unknown history unfolds through Jenkins' stories of players and the unique circumstances that placed them at the first off-rez boarding school far from Indian Country. We are introduced to Carlisle athletes one by one as they move from their traditional communities on the reservations and agencies to the gridiron, where they meet and compete with the Ivy League teams typically credited with the early development of the game. Set just before and after the turn of the last century, we are privileged to meet and understand the experiences of real-people athletes, beyond the legendary treatment of the greatest of them all, the Sac and Fox athlete, Jim Thorpe. 

Book Review: The Shippensburg Historical Society--A Fifty Year Retrospective, 1945-1995

The Shippensburg Historical Society-A Fifty Year Retrospective, 1945-1995. Various authors. Published by the Society: The News-Chronicle Company, Shippensburg, Pa., 1996.

In spite of the title, only about a third of this book's pages deal expressly with the historical society and its collections. The rest, however, is good town history: a chapter regarding a Civil War-era correspondence; a selection of programs and papers presented to the society (principally business histories); Shippensburg area church histories; and some other relevant articles of an original and informative nature, including an abbreviated time line for the town from 1945 through 1995 and a series of amusing couplets called "Shippensburg Businesses in Rhyme" written in 1934.

Book Review: The Valley Forge Winter: Civilians and Soldiers in War

Wayne Bodle, The Valley Forge Winter: Civilians and Soldiers in War. University Park PA: Penn State University Press, 2002. Map. Notes. Index. Pp. xlll, 325. $35 .00.

Despite its title, this book covers more than the few months of the "Valley Forge Winter." Background material treats the period from the winter of 1777 when expiring enlistments brought the discharge of the bulk of Washington's army at Morristown, New Jersey, the piecemeal assembly of a predominantly new force as recruits trickled in through the spring, and the constant but inconclusive maneuvering of these troops through most of the summer. The detailed narrative addresses the nine months between the late-summer arrival of the British and American forces in Pennsylvania through the departure of both forces in mid-June 1778 and their clash at the Battle of Monmouth. The author's analysis of what he considers the significance of the experience provides the conclusion.

Book Review: The Waters of Kronos

Conrad Richter, The Waters of Kronos. University Park PA: Penn State University Press, 2003. Pp. 176, $16.95

When Conrad Richter published The Waters of Kronos in 1960, he was sixty-nine years old and contemplating the swift approach of three score and ten, a significant phrase for the son of a minister and a writer shaped by the language of the Authorized King James Version. He had left Pine Grove in Schuykill County, Pennsylvania, when he was twenty years old. He lived a productive life as a writer in Ohio and New Mexico, then returned to his hometown for the last eighteen years of his life, dying in 1968. Among many honors were a Pulitzer Prize in 1951 for The Town, the culminating novel of his Ohio frontier trilogy, and a National Book Award in 1961 for The Waters of Kronos.

Book Review: Times of Sorrow and Hope

Allen Cohen and Ronald L. Filippelli, Times Of Sorrow And Hope. State College, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003. Photos, 265 pp., $45.00.

The Great Depression of the late 1920s and the decade of the 1930s was one of the most profoundly significant eras in the history of the United States. Not since the Civil War had the nation's foundation been so threatened by economic, cultural, and political instability. In 1935 the Farm Security Administration (FSA), an agency of the New Deal, gathered a group of photographers to document life in America. The dozen or so photographers fanned out across the country, producing an archive of images showing the life of the citizenry during those difficult times, a chronicle of American life that remains unrivaled to this day. This book is an assembly of the images that were created in Pennsylvania.

Book Review: To Show What an Indian Can Do: Sports at Native American Boarding Schools

John Bloom. To Show What an Indian Can Do: Sports at Native American Boarding Schools, Sports and Culture Series, vol. 2. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000) 151 pp. Illustrated. $24.95 . Hardcover.

Although the culture of the Carlisle Indian School may be well known among historians, the popular sports media's history has perhaps a more selective memory for the football, track and other competitive teams for which Native Americans ardently participated before the 1950s. Recent commemorative sport shows for "millennium athletes" seemed to be covered with more modern-day athletes with few of the early parts of the twentieth century (as many commemorative efforts are apt to do). However, there were many great Native American athletes and teams in the first half of the century in scholastic sports as To Show What an Indian Can Do displays. Though sports such as football were introduced by Native American boarding schools as a method for assimilating students into mainstream white culture (and erasing their native heritage) -something one may expect to have caused a lethargic lack of participation in the activity the sports instilled immense competition and pride among its students (p. xii). The main drive of Bloom's book is to explore how Native American students not only excelled at these sports, but participated in them out of pleasure and as a way of formulating an identity for themselves as their native heritage eroded away (p. xii). Parents, who were often the most resistant to their children losing their native heritage through attendance at these schools, discouraged attendance at first, but by the Great Depression encourage it, simply because life for their children would be better away from the reservations' wretched conditions. Another focus of .. . What an Indian Can Do is the coverage of Victorian ideals at these boarding schools. Boys were encouraged to compete in team sports, show individualism and be energetic, while women students were to rest, be at home, be quiet, and participate in more physical education "activities" (rather than team sports). These ideals not only limited competition for women, but speak volumes of boarding school administrations' enforcement of Victorian ideals well into the twentieth century as a way of life.

Book Review: Twentieth Century Thoughts: Carlisle: The Past Hundred Years

Ann Kramer Hoffer, Twentieth Century Thoughts. Carlisle: The Past Hundred Years. Carlisle: Cumberland County Historical Society, 2001.

This book is not a monograph bur a reflective essay that the author describes as "an introduction to the century" (p. viii). Twentieth Century Thoughts consists of eleven topical chapters devoted to such subjects as the community's photographers, its place makers, its lost landmarks and neighborhoods, business and industry, and institutions. A series of "insights"-poems, descriptions of important events such as Jim Thorpe's wedding, a trip to Alaska, and sports separate the chapters and provide opportunities to address a wider range of activities that defined life in Carlisle at important moments. Hundreds of images capture important buildings, events, everyday occupations and recreations, and the individuals who gave shape to the community in the twentieth century.

Book Review: White Man's Club: Schools, Race, and the Struggle of Indian Acculturation

WHITE MAN'S CLUB: Schools, Race, and the Struggle of Indian Acculturation, by Jacqueline Fear-Segal (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007), 422 pp., $55.00 hb.

Perhaps only once in a decade does a book come along that truly sets the standard for the rest of the field. White Man's Club is such a book. Beautifully written and superbly argued, it is replete with fresh insights and analysis of a subject that remains one of the most enduring and meaningful and often painful in the history of American Indian and white relations