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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West Paperback – May 15, 2007
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The book had a profound impact on readers when it was first published in 1971 for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it took a unique perspective. Reports of Treaty meetings, tribal histories, Congressional findings and interview transcripts have all been distilled to provide the Indian point of view. Indeed the books' subtitle is 'An Indian History of the American West'. The second factor has to do with when the book was published. Interest in environmental issues was growing and the accounts of the destruction by the settlers of the Eastern forests, the soiling of the rivers and the slaughter of the Buffalo herds struck a chord, especially when contrasted with the practices of the Indians. Readers began to see Indians in a different light, as the first conservationists.
The period of history covered is short. From about 1860 to 1890. The first chapter briefly sketches the interactions between Eupopean and Indians from the formers' arrival in Massachusetts in 1620 up to the setting up of the 'permanent indian frontier' west of the Mississippi in 1847.
The 'frontier' lasted no time at all. Gold was discovered, land was sought and settlers flocked west. To cover this in legitimacy it was necessary to invent 'Manifest Destiny'. The Indians were now doomed as history has shown that this policy made it manifest that the Indians were destined to be swept aside by the white man. All that we have left is their legends, their magical placenames and some works like this book that provides insights into how the West was really lost.
I also recommend "The Trail of Tears", by Gloria Jahoda, which is the history of the removal of the eastern tribes to the west. These two books are neccessary if you, as an American, want a complete education of American History.
Beyond education, these books present a people who loved the earth, trusted and respected mankind, and lived honorable lives. I trust that these stories of the near annihilation of our native people at the hands of our forefathers will effect you in unexpected ways, and that you will come away from the experience with new heroes, and a broken heart.
So while it is safe to say the sentiment of Brown's book is clearly accurate and justified, for the overall scope of the book, exception must be taken by anyone seeking the cold hard truth. Since Brown's book was published, and quickly popularized, most historians have followed Brown's approach to viewing the Indian wars of the American West from a strictly ethnocentric viewpoint. To them, the term "Indian wars" has come to mean only "Indian - White wars", fought primarily to interrupt the flow of the expansion of white settlement. Paul Wellman began this trend in 1934 with his publication of the account of the 1862 Minnesota Massacre, DEATH ON THE PRARIE. However, what Wellman began, Brown perfected, until we have now reach, in this country, where the history of the American Indian is involved, a sort of Zinnian approach (a phrase I coined myself after revisionist historian Howard Zinn) to the re-writing or revision of American history, in this case specifically, the history of the American West.Read more ›
Throughout the book I couldn't help thinking about the real stories it contained that would make great movies. There's the story of the Seneca Indian who took the name Ely Parker and studied to be a lawyer. Because he was an Indian, he was not allowed to practice and so he became an engineer. During the Civil war he was Military Secretary to U.S. Grant. Later, he was appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs. How that all played out is a fascinating story. And then there is the story of the Ponca Indian, Standing Bear, who left the reservation in the late 1870s with a small band of people. Because of some helpful white men, his case was argued in the courts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Should be required reading in every high school in the United States. Devastating truths about how the west was won.Published 9 days ago by Gumptionsong
Americans,especially today, are calling for punishment of immigrants most having no idea of the lies, murders and genocide perpetrated by their own ancestors, themselves... Read morePublished 12 days ago by K. Caid
After watching watching The Revenant, I really wanted to know more about the Native American history that they DON'T teach in school. This book was a great start. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Karin
Details the tragedies of Western expansion and the downfall of the Native Americans. Really a thorough and beautiful piece of literature.Published 17 days ago by Coleman
A heartbreaking account of the injustice done to the natives of America.Published 21 days ago by Didsan
a classic, must read for anyone interested in American history. Will certainly dispel any rumors of fair treatment to the native population.Published 21 days ago by C. Forbess