Gridiron Guts: The Story of Football's Carlisle Indians At the turn of the 20th century, the little-known Carlisle Indian Industrial School was a gridiron powerhouse. As author Sally Jenkins recounts in a new book, many of football's tricks were born at the experimental boarding school for Native Americans.

Gridiron Guts: The Story of Football's Carlisle Indians

Gridiron Guts: The Story of Football's Carlisle Indians

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Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner (wearing a winter cap in the far upper right) surveys Carlisle's quick, low-charging line. Courtesy of the Cumberland Co. Historical Society, Carlisle, Pa. hide caption

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Courtesy of the Cumberland Co. Historical Society, Carlisle, Pa.

Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner (wearing a winter cap in the far upper right) surveys Carlisle's quick, low-charging line.

Courtesy of the Cumberland Co. Historical Society, Carlisle, Pa.

Carlisle player and football great Jim Thorpe (right) receives the ball. With the Carlisle single wing, anything could happen: a run, pass or kick. Courtesy of the Cumberland Co. Historical Society, Carlisle, Pa. hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the Cumberland Co. Historical Society, Carlisle, Pa.

Carlisle player and football great Jim Thorpe (right) receives the ball. With the Carlisle single wing, anything could happen: a run, pass or kick.

Courtesy of the Cumberland Co. Historical Society, Carlisle, Pa.

At the turn of the 20th century, the college leading the football gridiron wasn't Harvard or Yale – it was a little-known powerhouse called the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

It was at this experimental boarding school for American Indians where many of today's trick plays, and even the first spiral throw, were born.

The school's formative years and its legendary talent – including Jim Thorpe and Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner – come to life in The Real All Americans: The Game that Changed a Game, a People, a Nation by Sally Jenkins.

The school's story begins in 1879 with Lt. Col. Richard Henry Pratt, a fierce abolitionist who believed that Native Americans deserved a place but needed to be "civilized" into American society. Pratt made a treacherous journey to the Dakota Territory to recruit Carlisle's first students, and three years later the students started a football team.

By 1907, the Carlisle Indians were the most dynamic team in college football. They had pioneered the forward pass, the overhand spiral and other trick plays that frustrated their opponents.

Jenkins tells the story of these unlikely champions through the gritty games of the team's early years. The culmination of the book comes at the famous 1912 game, when Carlisle's Jim Thorpe plays Army's Dwight Eisenhower.

The Real All Americans
The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation
By Sally Jenkins

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The Real All Americans
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Sally Jenkins

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