Path Lit By Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe

On Friday, April 14 at 5:00 pm, join us for the fun when A Literary Cocktail Hour presents Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author David Maraniss and his new book Path Lit By Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe. Jim Thorpe rose to world fame as a mythic talent who excelled at every sport.He won gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, was an All-American football player at the Carlisle Indian School, the star of the first class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and played major league baseball for John McGraw’s New York Giants.

Even in a golden age of sports celebrities, he was one of a kind. But as a Native, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation, he encountered duplicitous authorities who turned away from him when their reputations were at risk. At Carlisle, he dealt with the racist assimilationist philosophy “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” Later, his gold medals were unfairly rescinded because he had played minor league baseball and his life was troubled by alcohol, broken marriages, and financial distress. But he survived it all. David will be in conversation with Brattleboro Lit Fest President of the Board Bob Parks and the event will be open for audience questions. To register for this free online Zoom webinar event, go to

David Maraniss is a New York Times best-selling author of 13 books, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University. He has been affiliated with the Washington Post for more than forty years as an editor and writer, and twice won Pulitzer Prizes at the newspaper. In 1993 he received the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his coverage of Bill Clinton, and in 2007 he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting.

He was also a Pulitzer finalist three other times, including for one of his books, They Marched Into Sunlight. On writing books, Maraniss said “If I’m going to write a book, I have to be obsessed with the topic. I’m not going to just write a book about a famous person. So I’m always looking for two things — a dramatic story, and themes that illuminate the sociology and history of America.”

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