Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Carlisle Vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle” as Want to Read:
Carlisle Vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Carlisle Vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  238 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
A stunning work of narrative nonfiction, Carlisle vs. Army recounts the fateful 1912 gridiron clash that pitted one of America’s finest athletes, Jim Thorpe, against the man who would become one of the nation’s greatest heroes, Dwight D. Eisenhower. But beyond telling the tale of this momentous event, Lars Anderson also reveals the broader social and historical context of ...more
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Random House
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Carlisle Vs. Army, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Carlisle Vs. Army

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Steven Peterson
Aug 31, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it
In 1912, one of the classic American football games was played--between Carlisle and mighty Army. A book published in 2007 covers much of the same territory, "The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation" by Sally Jenkins--and covers it well. But Lars Anderson's book, approaching the issues differently, likewise has created a wonderful examination of that game and events leading up to it.

The structure of Anderson's book weaves the story of three people together, culm
Jun 15, 2010 Terry rated it it was ok
Recommended to Terry by: all-school summer reading
Of the three historical figures whose lives Anderson traces to their intersection at a football game between Army and the Carlisle Indian School in 1912, I find myself most interested in the life of Carlisle's coach, "Pop" Warner. Although I suspect a bit of myth-making in the attribution of nearly every football innovation of the first few decades of the 20th century to this one man, I find that Warner's wily tactics translate to the page more effectively than Jim Thorpe's athletic grace or Dwi ...more
Mark Stratton
Feb 01, 2011 Mark Stratton rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, football
A book about a football game that is about far more than a football game.

In the early 20th Century, the traditional College Football powers were in the Northeast part of the country. Army aspired to that level of greatness, and so did the Carlisle Indian School. This book traces the lives of three Legends, Pop Warner, Jim Thorpe and Dwight Eisenhower. Decent, yet hardly deep and resonate biographies of each man are presented, along with a nice historical overview of College Football through 191
Nov 08, 2008 Meg rated it it was amazing
This book is not about football as much as it is about Native Americans finding their way in white society only a generation after their fathers and grandfathers had settled on reservations in the west. The book chronicles the lives of Pop Warner, head football coach at Carlisle Indian Boarding school, Jim Thorpe, a Sauc/Fox indian and naturally phenomenal all-around athlete from a reservation in Oklahoma who would go on to win multiple gold medals in his first and only Olympics, and Dwight "Ike ...more
Jan 23, 2010 Joshua rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Very entertaining book about the early days of college football--much different than the modern game of today. By early days I mean the early 20th century up to a game played between the Carlisle Indian School and Army in 1912. Carlisle had a star athlete from Oklahoma by the name of Jim Thorpe; Army had Dwight Eisenhower; Carlisle coach was Pop Warner.

The book is a great combination of sport history, suspense and description of what it was like for Natives at this time culturally. By the end w
Raymond Bial
Jul 29, 2016 Raymond Bial rated it did not like it
This book is more fiction than fact...and lots of hype. It is pitted with errors, small and large. This game was never "football's greatest battle" and it was simply a coincidence that Eisenhower and Thorpe played against each other. I am not convinced that the Carlisle Indians were trying to get even with "whites," especially descendants of Army cavalry attending West Point. I am also not convinced that Eisenhower was so obsessed with taking Thorpe out of the game by physically injuring him. Ei ...more
Daniel Wolfert
Jun 14, 2017 Daniel Wolfert rated it liked it
I got this book the year it was published. I was preteen who loved football and history. I had moved to Carlisle after my father had retired from the military. The combination of the topics of this book seemed perfect for me. I remember enjoying this book when I was younger as read about the skillful Jim Thorpe and the genius Pop Warner.
Kevin Kery
Nov 14, 2013 Kevin Kery rated it really liked it
This was a simply wonderful book. It appears to be pretty painstakingly researched, even if a great deal of the narrative is admittedly "filled in" by the author.

I've been fascinated with the Carlisle Indian School since 2004 when I briefly lived on on the campus of a Jesuit run reservation school in South Dakota. To read about Thorpe, who to my understanding is still firmly within godlike status to most natives, was incredibly gratifying. Anderson won me over by telling his story in a positive
Apr 15, 2011 Elgin rated it really liked it
This was a fantastic story, all the more so because it is true. Most interesting were the biographies Pop Warner
and the stories of Jim Thorpe and Dwight Eisenhower through their football playing days. The author did a good job
of describing what life was like for Indians in those days (only a couple of dozen years after the Wounded Knee massacre.)
The people who dedicated their lives to native americans in those days (however misguided their motives) are to be admired.
I most enjoyed reading about
Aug 02, 2009 Ken rated it really liked it
Shelves: military, sports
How many stories do you know that can weave together one of America's greatest athletes, milestone events in U.S. history, football, the Army, and a dash of the Olympics all into one? This is likely one of the greatest sports stories you have never heard. Carlisle Vs. Army tells the story of how three historical figures: Pop Warner, Jim Thorpe, and a young Dwight Eisenhower all converged on the football field in an epic game between the Carlisle Indian School and West Point. The stories of Jim T ...more
Apr 18, 2011 Doug rated it really liked it
This book tells some of the same story as Sally Jenkins' "The Real All-Americans," but this one focuses on the rivalry between The US Military Academy's football team and that of Carlisle Academy. This was a chance for the Native Americans, whose last encounters with the US Army had ended in tragedy, humiliation and a loss of their previous way of life, to gain some measure of revenge. Meanwhile, the cadtes were a proud, ambitious group of overacievers themselves, led by none other than Dwight E ...more
Tim Wilhelm
Aug 07, 2010 Tim Wilhelm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, regardless of my biased dislike of football, was a fascinating educational experience. Suspense mixed with Anderson's impeccable, passionate writing (he is a writer for Sports Illustrated, after all) really captivated me even if I had no interest whatsoever in the sport or didn't comprehend the terms involved in the sport. Even though the author obviously was an avid football fan, he did an excellent job with sticking to the history and main characters. The story did have occasional t ...more
Jul 01, 2013 Bonnie_blu rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Before reading this book, I had only a very basic knowledge of Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School. Anderson's book gives a fascinating account of the origin and growth of the school and the role Jim Thorpe played in its football team's rise to fame in the early part of the twentieth century. As the title states, Thorpe and the school played West Point when Dwight Eisenhower was a cadet and on the football team. While I don't think the match up between Eisenhower and Thorpe is important, t ...more
John Heuvelman
Sep 15, 2011 John Heuvelman rated it really liked it
Very interesting book. It was written as a parallel biography of Jim Thorpe (with Pop Warner) and Ike, with the culmination in the football game played between Carlisle Indian School and the U.S. Military Academy. The book provided not only factual information, but insight into the personalities involved and their motivations. Although the events took place 100 years ago and more, Anderson brings them back to live as if they had just happened.

For fans of football, especially those with an intere
May 27, 2011 Nathan rated it liked it
An interesting topic. I've always been fascinated by Jim Thorpe and was happy to learn more about him. Considering his raw athletic abilities, it's almost scary to think about how good he could have been if he had fulfilled his potential. I didn't think the writing in this book was all that great, but that could have also been skewed by the fact that I read a book by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Barbara Tuchman right before this.
Dustin long
Dec 11, 2007 Dustin long rated it really liked it
Good read on a football game in 1912 between Army with future president Dwight Eisenhower and the Carlisle school (for native Americans) that feaured Jim Thorpe and its place in history. Detailed narrative that is well researched and gives you a sense of what life was like back then. If you think about the details the author revales, you marvel at the work it took to gather all that information.

Jun 04, 2008 Jamon marked it as to-read
Heard the peice on NPR while living by Carlisle, but apparently Carlisle Indian school waited all season to show the forward pass at the final game against army. According to the author, as soon as the fans saw the spiral go for 30 years, they all of the sudden starting routing for the agile native americans to beat the brutish Army. Now living by West Point I can not imagine such fan fickle-ness.
Overall enjoyable read. The author used painstaking research to recreate a time in college football history where little to no games were filmed with motion pictures or cameras. His lengthy descriptions of games culled from newspaper articles recreated the events that led up to this historical confrontation with a lot of gusto. However, the mini autobiographies of both Thorpe and Eisenhower seemed tacked on and unnecessary to the overall story being told.
Jan 24, 2015 Alger rated it really liked it
A superior book related in a breezy style.

The Carlisle School v West Point Game of 1912 was arguably the moment that made football America's game, and a real competitor to baseball. There isn't much here that is new information, but the telling recombines the elements into a parallel biography of Thorpe and Ike whose time on the football field is explicitly a reenactment of Wounded Knee and a moment of revenge for decades of humiliation on the part of the Carlisle team.

Lynn Green
Sep 20, 2016 Lynn Green rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this story which is at once a look into early college football, Native American history, and the biographies of two Americans who met in an epic college football game. I particularly liked the parts about Jim Thorpe, and his life growing up in Oklahoma Territory.
Chris Bailey
Oct 30, 2009 Chris Bailey rated it really liked it
Awesome story of the early years of college football. Carlisle vs. Army covers some of the history leading up to that game and the history of the legendary figures that played in it. I recommend it for people who are interested in Native American Sports figures or football history.
Bjoy Davidson
Oct 02, 2008 Bjoy Davidson rated it really liked it
As a big football fan (go hapless Browns and Wolverines) this history of the game is really interesting. As a look at how White Europeans decided the fate of the "savages" also interesting and important to be reminded of.
Herman Padilla
Oct 18, 2016 Herman Padilla rated it liked it
Shelves: native-american
It was OK, lots of period information I hadn't known about but I've read so many good books lately this one suffered in comparison I found I was just trying to rush through it so I could get to my next book
Rob O'd
Nov 21, 2009 Rob O'd rated it really liked it
What I learned - I need to read more about Dwight Eisenhower. Learned so much about Carlisle College, Pop Warner, Jim Thorpe - too much to list here.
Christopher Walsh
Apr 15, 2015 Christopher Walsh rated it it was amazing
If you're a college football fan and like history (like I do) just read it. Trust me, you'll really like it.
Sep 04, 2008 Karen rated it it was amazing
Excellant book.
Steven Freeman
Feb 01, 2016 Steven Freeman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, favorites
Great book about the influence of football on Jim Thorpe and Dwight Eisenhower and how Pop Warner helped to invent modern football.
Dec 04, 2016 Johnny rated it really liked it
a good book on the early days of football as well as the early military career of Eisenhower and not mention the role of Jim Thorpe on the American sports landscape
Sep 20, 2007 Joy marked it as to-read
While wandering through my favorite book store I stumbled upon a "Football" table full of books - and this one was on it. First few pages have been interesting - looking forward to the rest of it.
Jan 27, 2009 Dalton marked it as to-read
The reason i want to read this book is because my friend Brit had me read some parts and they were so detailed.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • War As They Knew It: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America in a Time of Unrest
  • Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics
  • Namath: a Biography
  • The Genius: How Bill Walsh Reinvented Football and Created an NFL Dynasty
  • Rising Tide: Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie's Last Quarter
  • The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation
  • The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL
  • There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945-1975
  • They Also Ran
  • Jackie Robinson: A Biography
  • Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life
  • The Road to Disunion: Volume I: Secessionists at Bay, 1776-1854
  • Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon
  • Constantinople: The Forgotten Empire
  • Solomon Kane: The Castle of the Devil (Dark Horse's Solomon Kane, #1)
  • Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920
  • Cane Mutiny: How the Miami Hurricanes Overturned the Football Establishment
  • Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas

Share This Book