From Kirkus Reviews
An expert chronicle of the final triumphs and troubles of the Cherokee Nation before its integrity was destroyed by the US Congress in the 1880's--and the crowning achievement in the distinguished career of the late McLoughlin (History and Religion/Brown). Forced in the 1830's to abandon ancestral lands in the Deep South, the Cherokees suffered terribly on the Trail of Tears but arrived in their new home west of the Mississippi with their national identity largely intact. Led by the mixed-blood John Ross, they encountered hostility from Cherokees already established in the area, and a bloody factional struggle ensued that was settled only by treaty in 1846. Rebuilding what they had lost during their removal, the unified Cherokee Nation established schools, farms, and towns, becoming stable without much help from Washington. But resentment of prospering, English-speaking mixed-bloods by more traditional (and poorer) full-bloods--who saw their heritage imperiled by the former's assimilationist tendencies--was fanned by the sectarian slave crisis in the US. Further bitter infighting erupted as Cherokees took sides during the Civil War and, after Ross's death in 1866, no leader of his stature emerged to safeguard sovereignty as successfully as he had. Under increasing pressure by railroad and other interests, the Cherokees saw their internal division continue to fester, ultimately leaving them unable to resist demands that their new homeland be turned into a territory for settlement. Tightly focused and painstakingly detailed, as well as deeply sympathetic: the definitive history of the Cherokees in their desperate last stand against white encroachment. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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McLoughlin's analysis of Cherokee politics is nuanced, critical, and acute.Mary Young, University of Rochester