Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football
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Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  393 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Jim Dent, author of the New York Times bestselling The Junction Boys, returns with his most powerful story of human courage and determination.

More than a century ago, a school was constructed in Fort Worth, Texas, for the purpose of housing and educating the orphans of Texas Freemasons. It was a humble project that for years existed quietly on a hillside east of town. Life...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2007)
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Gary Christensen
Oct 17, 2008 Gary Christensen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gary by: Goodreads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I thought about giving this book 3 stars, but I just couldn't do it. The orphan boys were just too special and deserve more than that. What a remarkable bunch of guys! And, what about that Rusty Russell? What an amazing man! Without him, I can only imagine where these guys would have ended up. This was a really good example of an underdog success story. I also really enjoyed learning some interesting and off the beaten path Texas history. I am not a football fan at all, so the fooball play by pl...more
This is a true story about orphans at a Masonic home in Texas during the Depression. It's absolutely amazing and a must read for everyone! It's not just a sports story, but a story of the human spirit and what the Mighty Mites endured and overcame with so little during a harsh time in our nations history. These boys are awe inspiring. You will find yourself cheering out loud for the Mighty Mites!
Erich Haux
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 05, 2008 jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: football fans
Recommended to jennifer by: my favorite coach - kent :)
Shelves: sports-true
the mighty mites are an inspiring lot. what is most admirable about the whole true story is the example and stewardship of their football coach, rusty russell. how one man led a bunch of orphans through their parentless-childhood with the sport of football. through his acceptance of and devotion to his players, he taught them both directly and indirectly that football is a place to work out their aggression and in turn gain a belief in themselves. oh - if their were more coaches like this for ki...more
Jul 25, 2008 Shelley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Sports Fans, True Story fans, Everyone who enjoys Inspriational Story
Recommended to Shelley by: Jim Dent at a book signing at the Masonic Class Reunion
This book is based on the true story of an orphans football team in Texas. I must admit that I am not much of a sports fan & just stumbled on to this book. This is a MUST READ! I am only on the 3rd chapter & it is a REMARKABLE story about ordinary people who are real HEROS! I met the author & some of the people that the book is based on in June 2008 @ the Mansonic Home class reunion where my mother in law grew up & attended school. Jim Dent was very excited about this story that...more
I enjoyed this book - even more so because I've seen a lot of the locations where the story took place. The personal stories of these players and the childhoods that they had to deal with around the time of the depression were difficult for me to imagine. So many people put their kids in orphanages just because they couldn't afford to feed them...I can't even imagine that!
I am not a sports fan. I loved this book. It was funny. My favorite part was the glass eye. It was also heart rending and shocking. This back has a little bit of everything. And even the football games were enjoyable. This is a really great book.
It is the story of Coach Rusty Russell and the football teams he coached at the Masonic Home. He build a football program that gave orphans something to have pride in, a steady source of income for a poor and building school and with smaller and fewer players he consistently won and made the state playoffs for ten years. The story spends little time on x's and o's and it is more about depression era Texas, the home and the people that ran it. My Dad spent 11 years at them home and pla...more
12 Mighty Orphans
Touchdown! Hardy Brown. You heard that a lot in the 1940s. Hardy played for one of the best Texas high school teams in his time. When I read this book it was by far one of the best books I have ever read.

The setting of the book was in Fort Worth, Texas. The plot of the book is a small school with a twelve man roster trying to win it all in the Texas A and AA conferences. They start out as nothing. They had no shoes, no helmets, no matching jerseys, and last no football. Next t...more
Miles Harrison

Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of The Mighty Mites who ruled Texas football. When having nothing else but the sport football orphans decide to begin a football program. When certified coach comes to town and decided to coach these soon to be football team. These orphans decides to take on the best high schools teams and do their best to make it to the championship.

There where some things that I liked when I was reading the book like the number one team taunting the orphans and t...more
Lee Ann
The idiom says, "Don't just a book by it's cover." What about the book jacket?

All it took was reading the book jacket, and I was a goner for Jim Dent's Twelve Mighty Orphans. Then again, maybe I should have judged this book by it's cover because the rest of the title is "the Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football"—what's not to love?

The book covers the story of the Masonic Home Mighty Mites during the 1930s and 1940s, when America was in the dark depths of the Great D...more
My father often told me of his days playing football in Oklahoma (Indian Territory) in Nowata (although he sometimes mentioned Haskell Indian Institute, but I can't believe he was ever in Lawrence, Kansas)in the style depicted in this book. He must have played on the line and bragged about tackling and blocking opponents in the destructive manner! He lettered and had a beet color maroon wool blanket with a big N that he had with him until the end of his days (I even buried him in Tulsa with it c...more
Blake Curl,
I previously wrote a short review of the wonderful book and forgot to mention that one of the reasons this book was of such interest to me is that I played against three of the Masonic Home teams in the 50's. Their glory days were over but the aggressiveness and hard-nosed football of past teams portrayed in this book were very much ingrained in their unique style of play. Great read and brought back many good memories.
Tim Brick
It is the story of Coach Rusty Russell and the football teams he coached at the Masonic Home. He build a football program that gave orphans something to have pride in, and he gave the orphans something that they loved. This book was very good but some points were low (talking about the Great Depression in Texas) and then there were their highs (when they go to the championship) but this was a great and very inspiring book. Any body who has read a Jim Dent book or like sports non-fiction books wo...more
Jack Friedland
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine Kinsloe
This book is an absolutely wonderful story! ! it is a nonfiction story about orphans of freemasons who were forced to live in the "Home." Their coach, Russell, not only coaches them to play football and win, but mentors them about life. I knew football is important in Texas but I had no idea how far back that went. The author does a great job of painting the picture of what life was like during the 1930's. He also develops the characters and makes them appeal to the reader. While I was reading,...more
Ron recommended this book for me. Another attempt to lengthen my nonfiction booklist.

TWELVE MIGHTY ORPHANS follows the "Mighty Mites," a football team from the Texas Masonic Home, and their quest for the Texas state championship over the course of 15 years. The team started from nothing and became the underdog in countless battles during the Great Depression. Some of the boys from the football team went on to play for the NFL or college teams. Many graduated...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's a wonderful story on so many levels...orphans making something of themselves through hard work, the impact one man can make on the life of children, good history giving, and more. I thought the author kept football plays and jargon to a minimum so the book was enjoyable for a woman, and the story line was so interesting. I felt like I knew these orphans. To add special interest, I came to find out that my mother in law and Ray and Dewitt Coulter are cousins,...more
Jonathan H.
Based on the true story of the Masonic Home for orphans in Fort Worth, this book is very inspiring. It talks about how the orphans, who were not very well trained or equipped for football, were a great underdog and beat the football dynasties of Texas. Taking place during the depression era, the orphans were the symbol for fighting hard and overcoming obstacles. This book also talks about the current politics of Fort Worth and immerses you in the time period. I would recommend this to everyone a...more
This is the One Book, One Arlington selection, and as part of that program they "forced" all the branch book clubs to read it as well. It was compelling in parts, but much of it was repetitive and the long descriptions of games, play-by-play, made no sense to me, since I don't watch football or regularly read the sports page. The best parts were the stories about old Fort Worth and old Dallas, the crazy characters and antics of the people. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone but readers of foo...more
I enjoyed reading the book even tough it was about football and I read every word in the book - no skipping. I did like the characters and how the little orphans helped each other out on the field and when it came to cover up for one another. Mr. Russel was a wonderful man and obviously also a great coach. I learned more about the life during the great depression witch must have been hard for many people and also for them who was used to lit their cigar with a $1000 bill.
Donna Siebold
A really interesting story of a fairly unknown (at least to me) football team. I wish I had seen the show that Mr. Dent saw which got him interested in the Mighty Mites.
Enjoyed this book immensely. It was local history for me, and although I'm no sports fan, could not wait to read about every game's outcome. It's more than a sports book, though; it's about growing up, relationships, and one's place in the world. I wish I could have talked to my grandfather about this era; he played for TCU and likely knew many of the personalities written about in the book.

I recommend this book for men and women. It can be enjoyed by all.
Ft. Worth tale from my hometown...grew up swimming daily right across the road from the Orphanage and never knew this incredible story...

some of these guys are still alive and go to church with my dad scored a touchdown for Arlington Heights against the Mighty Mites in a winning effort 39 or 40...

Incredible inspirational story...and all about the good people of Texas...
this is about the Masonic home in Fort Worth in the 20s-30s. A friend's grandfather was there and the author spoke at our YMCA annual campaign kickoff this year. It is going to be made into a movie

Really enjoyed reading the book, especially the descriptions of Fort Worth in the 30s. A little more football game descriptions than I would have preferred, but overall, a good read.
This is the story of orphans from the Masonic Home in Ft. Worth, Texas who defeat the odds and play the game of football to win. Although they never won the State Championship, they came close and were always the underdogs.

I would have liked to have known more about the girls living at the orphanage and their lives, though I know this book was about the boys and football.
I really liked this book. I love these forgotten-gems-of-history stories, and if you can throw in a sports backdrop, all the better. This story of the football team from the Masonic orphanage in Fort Worth, Texas, and the unlikely success that they had in Texas, where high school football is followed on a nearly-fanatical level, was a great look at life in the 20's and 30's.
I am not a football fan. I should state this quickly. To my surprise, though, this book kept me entertained and enthralled in the boys' stories. The depth that was gone into to describe the lives of these boys was amazing. It would have made a good story, but the best part was that it was real, and it amazed me how different a world there was seventy or so years ago.
Tamara Sakuda
Set in Texas where football is king, this is a story of how a group of orphans dominated high school football during the Great Depression. The story about the team called the Mighty Mites is inspiring! Jim Dent tells an engaging story. My high school students really liked this book, and even my struggling readers were able to access the text.
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