A Hearing for Jim Thorpe, An Exercise in Frustration
Who was Jim Thorpe? Did he really deceive the world in the 1912 Stockholm Summer Olympic Games? Was the evidence against him really strong enough to justify stripping away his legendary accomplishments and erasing his Olympic record? Author Michael Sheaffer tackles these and other thorny questions of ethics, honor, and sportsmanship in his new and thoroughly entertaining novel A Hearing for Jim Thorpe: An Exercise in Frustration. A sports reporter named Bud Murphy arrives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on a hot, dry July 1915, afternoon. He’s there to cover a special and unprecedented event; a hearing at the Cumberland County Courthouse regarding the case, details, and final disposition of Carlisle native son, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe was the hero of the 1912 Stockholm Summer Olympics where he won back-to-back Pentathlon and Decathlon gold. But, it all came crashing down when the Amateur Athletic Union presented evidence that Thorpe had competed in the games after having already played professional baseball before the start of the games. Dishonored, but still having popular support, Jim Thorpe was stripped of all his glory, medals, and reputation. Murphy witnesses the crowded courtroom as experts, witnesses, and history itself testify to the greatness and the infamy of Thorpe and the controversy that grew up around him. A Hearing for Jim Thorpe offers up a riveting tale of passion that celebrates the life of a true American sports hero and speculates on what could have been.
Written with a touch of humor and told as an intimate and revealing narrative, A Hearing for Jim Thorpe: An Exercise in Frustration is a book that casts a bright light into a dark corner of sports history. In the spirit of great courtroom dramas like Inherit the Wind, author Sheaffer sets the record straight, while telling a masterful drama that is both bold and uplifting.
- Michael Sheaffer, August 2010
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