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

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  735 Ratings  ·  116 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. Lif
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by Griffin (first published 2007)
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Patrick Fanning
When my uncle first recomended this book to me, I never really thought that I was going to be able to get into it. I figured that I already hear enough about Texas high school football attending CHHS and definetly don't need to read a book about it. With that being said, 'Twelve Mighty Orphans' turned out to be the most exciting and inspirational sport book that I have ever read. This non-fiction told the story of a tough underpopulated orphanage's football team who against all odds became one o ...more
Jul 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to G. by: Goodreads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
David Keene
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is very special to me because one of those kids, Abner McCall, eventually became president of Baylor University and he signed my college diploma. Also, I have a fraternity brother whose parents are good friends with the couple who twice married.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
What an amazing story! The author wove together a very interesting account of multiple lives merging to form a winning team against all odds. I am a Baylor Bears fan so learning that Abner McCall was one of the Mighty Mites had special meaning to me. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a good sports story. Warning: some portions regarding abuse are disturbing and the cruelty of some of the boys. The heroes of this story are those who poured their lives into helping these boys wh ...more
I loved this book!!
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twelve Mighty Orphans is the story of the football team at the Masonic Home in Fort Worth, Texas. The time period is the Great Depression. The old Masonic Home and School of Texas opened in 1899. It closed in 2005. The school was its own school district. The home cared for orphaned and displaced children. The children were those born to Masonic members.
When the book begins the story of Hardy Brown is told. The Brown siblings were notable characters at the Masonic School and on the football team.
Sara Strasser
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Twelve Might Orphans tells the inspiring story of a group of orphans growing up in the Masonic Home during depression-era Texas. I was fully prepared to dislike this book, as Texas football culture is not exactly my thing, but I actually thought this book was fantastic! Even if you are not into football, or even sports in general, this is a truly inspiring story.
The book begins with a man, Rusty Russell, who decides to create a football program at the Masonic Home for Orphans. The school does
Jan 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Alex Gonzalez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erich Haux
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-reads
Historical account of the "Mighty Mites" - the amazing Masonic Home of Ft Worth orphans that pulled together as a state football team with Coach Rusty Russell during the 1920's - 1940's.
Blake Curl,
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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!
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great for men or women. If you are a football fan you will love the story. If you are looking for a heartwarming story you will love it too.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If high school football Texas-style, here is the book for you. The Texas Masonic Home (orphanage) boasted quite a team i the 1930's. They took on all comers, especially those from much larger schools. They had an amazingly dedicated coach, legions of faithful fans, and players tougher than door nails.
A good story of
Texas football and history of Ft. Worth. some people may not enjoy it, but I liked it.
Don Gorman
(2 1/2). This is a timepiece human interest/sports story. Dent is a well know sports journalist and he does a good job here. The football aspect overpowers the human interest side so if you are not a football fan, this one is not for you. The story itself is fascinating, an amazing David vs. Goliath study with depression era Texas as a wonderful backdrop. Very entertaining for the sports fan. The aftermath of what happened in later life to some of the main characters is more interesting than man ...more
Lee Ann
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 De
Justin Hernandez
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book this great shouldn’t be hidden it’s like hiding a cake from a cake lover. When I first picked the book it made me second guess rather I should pick a different book but into the first 50 pages I was hooked a strong story about a coach that brings a group of orphans and make them Texas legends, and how nothing is stronger then a bond with a game that you love and finding a passion in life.
I gave this book a 3.5 but maybe a strong 4 because of how it talked about how many of these orphans w
Nov 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jack Friedland
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Reader's Choice B...: Twelve Mighty Orphans 17 12 Aug 22, 2013 10:39AM  
Historical Accuracy 1 14 Nov 30, 2008 03:22PM  
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