- Hardcover: 356 pages
- Publisher: Tuxedo Press (April 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0977448614
- ISBN-13: 978-0977448616
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 8.2 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,206,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Keep A-Goin': The Life of Lone Star Dietz Hardcover – April 1, 2006
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Until age 15, Billy Dietz thought he was the natural son of a prominent white couple in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Overhearing the woman who raised him reveal part of the secret of his birth during an argument with his father started the young athlete and artist on an oddyssey of self-discovery that took him to the St. Louis World's Fair, Carlisle Indian Industrial School, the Rose Bowl and the heights of the football coaching profession. The secret of his birth became a principle issue in his sensational draft evasion trial after WWI. This book is the story of his rise and fall and how he kept a-goin' in spite of what had happened to him. "Lone Star Dietz was one of the most colorful and capable personalities in college football's fabled past, and Tom Benjey has made a major contribution to the game's written history with this long-overdue biography on Dietz." Ray Schmidt College Football Historical Society "Tom Benjey has written engagingly about the life and times of Lone Star Dietz, a notable football player and coach during the first half of the past century. It is a fascinating tale of a skillful player and innovative coach who made significant contributions to the game that framed his life. Benjey's work, however, is much more than an interesting ports story. It is a penetrating examination of triumphs and tragedies in the life of a man confronted with daunting social and cultural obstacles. Benjey's biography of Lone Star Dietz is full of insights about one man's search for personal identity in a complex and confounding socio-cultural context. As such, it is a memorable American story." John J. Patrick Professor Emeritus of Education Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
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There is an old proverb that says, "A man is known by the company he keeps." Some of William Lone Star's best friends were Knute Rockne, Glen "Pop" Warner, Jim Thorpe. Let's listen what these immortals of football history had to say about Dietz. Knute Rockne said, "I consider him one of the greatest coaches in the game...." Pop Warner said, "Jim Thorpe, Lone Star ... still rank among the all-time stars of football." Why are Rockne, Warner and Thorpe household names and not Dietz when it comes to football?
George Preston Marshall,the Redskins franchise founder and owner, named the franchise in honor of him, but how did Marshall see him after he only coached two seasons? Marshall described Dietz as "a genius ...an innovative, brilliant strategist."
Just who was this William Lone Star Dietz who was held in such high esteem by giants in football history?
Tom Benjey's "Keep A -goin' The Life of Lone Star Dietz, an exhaustive biography on the life of William Lone Star Dietz, will leave the reader with few questions about one the best football coaches in history. Benjey spent five years researching the life of Lone Star and he includes every bit of the information in his book. Benjey accounted for every year of Dietz's nearly 80 years on Earth except three time periods totaling three years for which he couldn't account. After reading this book, you will know who William Lone Star Dietz was and why it was an honor to name the Washington Redskins for him.
The book takes the reader on one hellacious rollercoaster ride called Lone Star's life. From his birth to his death, this ride incurs a series of mountainous peaks, steep plunges and torturous curves. Dietz's childhood is marred by lonliness from being ostracized by his childhood peers because they believed that he was an Indian. Once Dietz leaves home to find his identity, he finds one monumentous success after another, but after each succes he experiences one monumentous plunge after another. Even his death cannot stop the cycle.
Benjey, allows the reader to feel Dietz's jubilation and feel his pain. He paints Dietz in 3-D by not just writing about Dietz life, but by writing about the historical background surrounding Dietz every day of his ride. The reader will see college football in its early years and find that things are not so much different today when it comes to regulations. We will see our nation in the pre-WWI state with it's crackdown on anyone who wouldn't join the war effort. Benjey devotes an entire chapter to the Influenza Outbreak of 1918. All of these events in history were major parts of the peaks and plunges of Dietz's ride.
The amazing thing about Dietz is that he never stayed down when he got knocked down. That being said by itself makes a man special, but Dietz didn't just get back up, he kept riding back to the tops of the peaks until he couldn't ride no more. He just Kept a-goin.' the book is aptly named.
In his epilogue, Benjey deals with the accusations of Indian activists that Dietz was not an Indian. Benjey does not take sides in the controvery over the team name, Redskins, but he does let the facts speak for themselves when addressing the things activists said about Dietz. At the end, of the epilogue, he finally gives his opinion based on his research.
This book is not just a must read for every Redskin fan. It is a must read for anyone who enjoys the life stories of persons who persevered when the odds were against them. It is a must read for college football fans who want to study the early years of the sport. Finally, it is a must read for all those who enjoy reading the sagas of American heroes like Rockne, Warner, and Thorpe. William Lone Star Dietz's place in American history should be right alongside those greats.
I am looking forward to my second reading of the Keep A-goin'just like a rollecoaster, you will want to ride again.
Lone Star Dietz was born in 1885, the son of an American Indian woman and a German father, a man who suffered the prejudices of being a half breed, a man who was discredited by his refusing to enter the armed forces during WW I, yet a gifted artist and athlete and actor and showman who added immeasurably to the manner in which football is played today, who elevated the regard for native American art, and who was a mover who helped launch the now famous Rose Bowl football games that brought success to the popular Rose Parade that began its ongoing New Year's Day spotlight in 1915!
One would think that a man of so many talents would be a household name in this country: certainly his achievements and colorful lifestyle merit such renown. But it takes a champion such as Tom Benjey to place him so fully before us. Benjey's no-nonsense writing style offers the facts and the photos, the trials and the art, and the rather overzealous exposition (for the non-sports minded reader) of Dietz' contributions to the game of football. But for this reader the aspect of this publication hat makes it a delight to read is the Epilogue at the end of the book where Benjey addresses us, the reader, with his own thoughts about Dietz' controversial life. It is illuminating and ends with a section called 'Who Dietz Really Was' that allows us to appreciate the sensitivity not only of Benjey's reportage in the bulk of the book, but also his talent at writing biography. He has given us an American icon to ponder and we are the richer for it. Grady Harp, April 07
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