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Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  243 ratings  ·  64 reviews
n the tradition of Friday Night Lights, an extraordinary journey into the basketball-crazed culture of remote Arctic Alaska.

The village of Fort Yukon sits eight miles above the Arctic Circle, deep in Alaska's "bush" country. The six hundred men, women and children who live there--almost all of them Athabascan Gwich'in Natives--have little to cheer for. Their traditional In
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Bloomsbury USA
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Parker Young
Parker Young
Mrs. Dunlavey
Summer reading
Eagle Blue
The Summarization of Eagle Blue
The idea of doing what the author did is fascinating to me. Michael D’orso went through what most people would’ve found excruciatingly boring. He spent most of his time living with the young boys of Fort Yukon, traveling several hundred miles to play a single game that lasts only an hour. Spending the nights in schoolrooms with only the boys and the coach for companions. That in of itself is amazing, yet he mana
Bray Gilgen
Nov 01, 2012 Bray Gilgen marked it as to-read
If you like books about basketball or about life in the Alaskan wilderness, then this is a book for you.

"Eagle Blue", written by Michael D'orso, is about a basketball team in the yukon of Alaska, the REAL wilderness as it is worded in the book, not like Anchorage, a so called "big city". It starts out describing life and what it's like living in a village of about a couple hundred people, and it is very descriptive and vivid, you can just about picture everything the author put in the book. The
This book follows the events of the Alaskan, Fort Yukon eagles 'bush' basketball team over the course of a season. The term bush is used to denote the remoteness of some of the teams.

Alaska is remote and Fort Yukon, a village of 600 native Alaskans, is to be found pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Therefore one could expect the book to cover basketball, along with the day to day issues of life in such a remote and harsh environment. Up to a point it does do this but only up to a point.

The s
Tristan Phegley
Eagle Blue by Michael D’Orso is a very exciting, fantastic, and entertaining book. This book was fun to read and also easy to read. I think people who don’t play sports or even enjoy sports should read this book because it wasn’t all about sports. It was also about the everyday lives of teenage boys.
This book is about a 1A basketball team from Fort Yukon, Alaska. The kids on this 1A team play with their heart - all of it. These kids play in several tournaments against higher ranked teams that
Author spends a season attending every practice and game of a high school basketball team of Native Alaskans from a small village. Clearly written and often exciting. It helps that they had a great year (24-4, won a couple invitational tournaments as well as regional champs, 3rd in state, upset some bigger schools). He does a nice job of evoking the goofiness and high spirits of a team of high school boys, of covering the complicated village politics and a little of the larger cultural history a ...more
Matt W
For some kids it’s just a game, something that keeps them busy during the long months of winter. In the book Eagle Blue by Michael D’Orso he depicts the life of the young boys that play on the basketball team in Alaska. The kids of Fort Yukon live and breathe basketball. It’s the heart and soul of the town, the time of the year that everybody lives for. For the members of the Fort Yukon boy’s basketball team basketball has a greater meaning than just being a sport, it resembles hope and freedom. ...more
English 301
Summer Reading
Kirk Vesely-Jamison

In 1976 Fort Yukon was the talk of the town, winning regionals five years in a row. Now, with a school of thirty two kids including boys and girls, over half of the school plays 1A basketball at Fort Yukon. If they didn’t have basketball the school would lose students because they would skip school, not do their homework, or move to a different school to play basketball. Every year the team would travel hundreds of miles with just the players and Coa
Andy Lihou
Eagle Blue is a very exciting and entertaining book. It is about the story of the season of the 2005 Fort Yukon basketball team. The book is about the team as they play through one of their most challenging seasons yet. It talks about their lives and their travels as they travel all across Alaska to achieve their goal of winning the NIT tournament and the big State Tournament. The team goes through many challenges such as ineligibility, not to mention a crazy coach with a unique play style. This ...more
Jeremy Walder
The book, Eagle Blue, is an amazing story about an arctic basketball teams struggles. I enjoyed almost every part of the book. The only part that I, personally, did not like was the first three to four chapters. In those chapters it was hard to understand some of the things the author was saying. For example, if the author was writing about one of the player’s home lives, he would talk about that player for the entire chapter except for a few random thoughts about other players. I found this ve ...more
Dylan Brooke
Dylan B
December 1, 2013

English 9


Eagle Blue by Michael D'Orso may be a good book for some. However for people like myself, this book felt boring and slow placed. But Eagle Blue is not a bad book in any means. This story to my interpretation is about a six time winning basketball team in Alaska going threw their 28 games in there new season hoping it will be there 7th victory. The fore teen boys faced with problems such as bad grades, drugs, and going to away games all while focusing on th
Delray Beach Public Library Public Library
Winters in Alaska are horrible; everybody knows this. The temperatures are beyond freezing and going outside in the frigid weather can’t be anywhere close to enjoyable. One would probably think the only sport possible at this time would be snowboarding or skiing. This book, Eagle Blue, shows us a different side of arctic Alaska. A small village named Fort Yukon in the remote arctic of Alaska has only 600 people, with its only connection to the outside world being one thing; their high school bas ...more
Feb 01, 2008 Lindsey rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: high school boys
Part documentary, part Rudy, D’Orso takes us through an entire basketball season with the Fort Yukon Eagles in rural Alaska. This isn’t your typical high school team; the conditions and life in Arctic Alaska create quite unique circumstances for the players, their families, and their coach. There are only thirty-two kids in the entire Fort Yukon high school, yet they have one six consecutive regional championships. D’Orso takes us through practices, pre-game pep-talks, road trips, and even into ...more
The book is essentially a story about a basketball team. The author tries to make it more than that by talking about politics and race, but his treatment of the issues is pretty superficial. He also relies a bit on stereotypes to make his point, with the exception of his discussion of the ANWR drilling issue. He talks about the local politics of that issue in an interesting and straightforward way.

But all of these issues are just to fill out the book. It's primarily a story of a high school bask
Rachel P
Eagle Blue, by Michael D'Orso, is a non-fiction novel about a high school basketball team in Alaska. They also have normal teenage lives though and some of them are facing problems in school with their grades. The basketball team and their coach, Dave, are the main characters. There is not one specific main character, but Matt is the best player on the team. The boys made it to the semi-finals of the Alaska State Championship Tournament. They had to play Newhalen, one of the best teams, and lost ...more
Laura Avellaneda-Cruz
As an Anchorage Alaskan, this expanded and surprised my view of Alaska and made me feel like a real wimp for whining about going out in -10. I read it upon the recommendation of a Fort Yukon resident, one of the daughters of the coach it follows, and I was not disappointed. It very well spoke with the voice of the Fort Yukon villagers and gracefully threw in bits of history and explanation of how life is lived, how trapping and hunting works, the politics of Native corporations and oil explorati ...more
I think this was a very good book I liked it a lot. I liked how the author really went into detail on all the teams ups and downs. They really made some memories in their 28-game season. The plot of this book the way it all ties together really makes this a good book. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes sports books.
Michael Heneghan
A really great sports book. But like the jacket says, good sports books are rarely just about sports, and "Eagle Blue" is no exception. It's about friendship, teamwork, David vs. Goliath, and a lot more. This book came by way of suggestion from one of my friends I teach with. Isn't that really the best way to get a book? "Here, take this. I loved it and I think you will too."

This book follows a high school basketball team from a small town in very, very rural Alaska. The town and the team are c
A really great sports book. But like the jacket says, good sports books are rarely just about sports, and "Eagle Blue" is no exception. It's about friendship, teamwork, David vs. Goliath, and a lot more. This book came by way of suggestion from one of my friends I teach with. Isn't that really the best way to get a book? "Here, take this. I loved it and I think you will too."
This book follows a high school basketball team from a small town in very, very rural Alaska. The town and the team are c
Sandra Strange
This book should have been better: it traces the basketball season of an amazing team from the tiny village of Fort Yukon. Native Americans, the Gwich'in, NOT Eskimo, struggle with a dearth of economic and educational opportunity, fading cultural influence, raging drug and alcohol abuse. The book deals with the extraordinary families and personalities of the fourteen boys on the team; with their struggles, hopes and failures; and with their dedicated and altruistic coach. However, there are no r ...more
Trent Mikesell
This book was somewhat interesting. However, it took me quite a while to get through it. It uses the framework of a basketball team to give some insights on life in a small Alaskan village and how cultures and traditions there are changing and dying. I was far more interested in that side of the story than I was with the basketball side, so I got a little bored when it went on and on about details of specific games. In some ways, this book reminded me of the movie Whale Rider.

I was considering
In a rate from 1-5 I would give it a 5. I recommend this book to people who play basketball or playssports because Eagle Blue is based on the Fort Yukon Eagles. he winners of six regional championships ina row, through the course of an entire 28-game season, from their first day of practice in late Novemberto the Alaska State Championship Tournament in March. With insight, and compassion, Michael D’orsogets into the lives of these fourteen boys, he gets into their families, and their coach, show ...more
Eagle blue is a great book about a high-school basketball team in arctic Alaska. This team doesn't have much to work for as they live in an almost year round snow covered town of Fort Yukon, where there is no roads or cars, just snowmobiles and little single motor planes to get around. The Fort Yukon Eagles have won 6 consecutive regional championships and they are pride and joy of their tribe. Every basketball season the Eagles struggle through the arctics brutal cold and almost continuous dark ...more
Audra Deemer
Writer D’Orso spent a winter with the high school boys’ basketball team, the Fort Yukon Eagles. The remote village of Fort Yukon is eight miles above the Arctic Circle and is home to around 600 people—mainly Athabascan Gwich’in Natives. D’Orso invites the reader into the lives of the boys and their coach as he follows along with him as they play their home games and fly to many of the away games. D’Orso also reveals the history and lives of many of the people of Fort Yukon including the high inc ...more
The author went up and spent a year in Fort Yukon, Alaska and followed the high school basketball team, the Eagles. It's an interesting book from many angles. I read it primarily to get a glimpse into the life of remote Alaska which the author conveys very well. He describes the town and it's characters in a way that's very real and non-sentimental. There is a lot of basketball action in this book that I skimmed over, which I don't think lessened the experience. But if you ever wondered how peop ...more
Will Olewinski
Book review

Eagle Blue by Michael D’orso is about a little town in Alaska, with a little high school with their basketball team. This book is about how these students have to overcome the challenges of being in a small town and a small school, and to be able to push everything away to focus on one thing, basketball. The author uses great word choice and it makes us feel like we actually know the character and know what he/she is thinking and seeing. It is a great book for anyone that loves sport
Basketball in wilderness Alaska, who knew? The story of the boys' and girls' season is so different from ours. They must travel by airplane, which can't take off in temperatures below minus 40 as a policy, then the teams travel by van whereever they play. They sleep in school classrooms or gyms, they are fed by parents of the rival team. Wow.
Then mix in the story of the Gwich'in tribe and other Alaskan Natives for culture and politics.
If neither of those appeals to the reader, the descriptions
Kyle Deleon
The book Eagle Blue is a pretty interesting book. It started off pretty slow, but when you start reading the book a lot, it gets more fun to read. I really like how the coach would do so much just to make a high school basketball team into champions. Michael D'Orso could have been a bit more descriptive when he talks about the characters. He needs to make the characters come to life. The only time when the characters true feelings come out is when they play during the game. Overall, this book wa ...more
Chris Powers
Great book, I was able to really connect with it. Michael D'Orso does a great job narrating what was going on throughout the whole season. I felt as if I was right there with the team as i was reading. It was a good book, and I would recommend to everyone to read.
VillaPark Public Library
We really liked this book but also felt that the editor could have pared down some of the descriptions. It's really hard to imagine sending your kids off to a sports tourney for a week (or longer)because the scheduling depends on the weather for flights. We worry around here about juggling schedules to be able to drive a kid to an event - up there if the temperature is below negative 40, you can't fly.

Vivid descriptions of life in a rural area and the haunting questions of what happens post high
Dylan Tomasulo
Eagle Blue was an alright book. It's a good book for people who enjoy the sport of basketball. The beginning of the book started out slow by talking about the lives of some of the people to get to know them outside of basketball a bit. About a little more of a quarter way through the book the basketball games and tournaments begin. When the tournaments are being played the description is pretty good by making it simple to follow for just reading words.
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The son of a U.S. Navy submarine officer, Mike grew up traveling often -- his family lived on or near military bases ranging from Key West to San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany -- before he graduated from high school near Washington, D.C. in 1971. After finishing undergraduate school at the College of William and Mary in 1975 with a degree in Philosophy, Mike spent several years traveling and working ...more
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