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Cherokee Talisman Paperback – November 15, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Q&CY BOOKS (November 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615652530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615652535
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,986,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Tsi'yugunsini ("Dragging Canoe") was one of the greatest Native Americans to have ever lived. His home was in the Smoky Mountains of current-day Eastern Tennessee. He was a highly skilled Cherokee war chief who lived, loved, fought, and died during a time when the United States was still struggling in its infancy. We look back at our nation's history during the latter part of the eighteenth century as a time of expansion, perseverance, and strength of American character. Tsi'yugunsini looked at the colonials as invaders, thieves, and terrorists.

Britain's King George was an invader as well, but he was four thousand miles away while the American settlers were pushing for expansion into Cherokee territory. When the Revolutionary War broke out in earnest Tsi'yugunsini sided with the British, choosing the devil at a distance over the one at his door. This may explain why he is not remembered and how victor's justice has clouded our past.

Tecumseh, another tremendous Native American, from the Shawnee Nation, also sided with the British, most predominantly in the War of 1812. For reasons as simple as timing and the sound and spelling of their names or as complex as their travels and influence, Tecumseh is recognized and commercialized while Tsi'yugunsini is less than a footnote. In the years following the Revolution the two men fought together against the new Americans in the Chickamauga Wars. They believed the total unification of all Native American nations against the new country was the only way to salvage their unique way of life. They were right, and Tecumseh championed the philosophy until he died in battle in 1813. His dream never came to be. If it had, a map of the United States may look decisively different.

However, over two hundred years after Tsi'yugunsini's death, one notion of the great chief remains. It is well documented from the 1775 treaty negotiations at Sycamore Shoals that Tsi'yugunsini, in absolute opposition to any land succession, boldly proclaimed that the names of the indigenous nations and their people would be forgotten or mispronounced by the expansion-minded colonies and their history. Today, of the over five hundred distinct nations that once comprised the United States, less than a handful are remembered. The same holds true for the men and women of those lands who served their people with distinction.

Interestingly, a vast number of our states, cities, and rivers still carry Native American names and while these are repeated countless times a day, the pronunciation is often scrambled and the origin forgotten, just as the great chief predicted. His own home region of Tennessee is derived from the Cherokee word tanase. Even the most widely visited national park in the United States, The Great Smoky Mountains, owes its name to the Cherokee who referred to the range as shaconage (shã-con-ã-gee) "place of blue smoke." Perhaps a greater, and sadder, testament to his tremendous foresight is that his declaration applies to his own name.

The chief's name has been written several ways -- each one of which impacts its spelling and pronunciation for English speakers. I have attempted to present the Cherokee (Tsa-la-gi) names as accurately as possible and suggest the English reader sound them out as written. The historical representations are accurate as a reflection of recorded history; however, there are gaps filled from my own pen as is the nature of historical fiction. I am certain my adaptation is consistent with the time, events, intent, and outcome. My respect for the Tsalagi nation and others referenced in this novel are such that I sincerely apologize if I have unintentionally misrepresented any person or event.

I would like to credit the Cherokee-English Dictionary by Feeling, Pulte, and Cowen, © 1975 by the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees and Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney from his material collected in the late nineteenth century originally published by the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1891 and 1900.


David-Michael Harding
November 2012

From the Inside Flap

FOREWORD by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Tahlequah, OK 

There are few places more beautiful than the Cherokee homeland, in the fall of the year. It is during the fall that our Creator paints the leaves on the maples and oaks, making the forests a colorful display of beauty. It was also in these same forests that many Cherokees lived, loved and died. Our history as a people was so affected by the Trail of Tears that many historians begin the telling of our story at the Trail of Tears moving forward, and those who walked through those forests of maples and oaks are all but forgotten.

David-Michael Harding, in his novel Cherokee Talisman, takes the reader to our homeland in the fall of the year, in such a way that the reader can almost smell the earth and see the beautiful colors of the leaves. It is a glimpse of oneness with the land that Harding conveys to the reader so that the love of our homeland, and the desire to protect it, can be felt by the human spirit and understood. Cherokee Talisman brings to life characters from our history and through a flare for fiction and historical research, Harding tells their story. Cherokees that might be painted by racist misconceptions as blood thirsty savages are humanized by Harding, making them heroes of a very real time in our history forgotten by man, and preserved by few.  History is written by the victorious, but when almost forgotten historical characters are brought to life, and their stories told, they are preserved for the ages, and in this preservation David-Michael Harding has succeeded.

More About the Author

David-Michael Harding is a life-long writer whose work has appeared in national publications and has been recognized by the international writing community. He is a collegiate writing instructor and former semi-professional football player. His experiences provide readers with well researched, crushing fast-paced action. Most of his days are spent writing from the cockpit of his sailboat, Pegasus, somewhere off the Nature Coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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A definite read!
Courtney Yeakel
Unfortunately, i read this book so fast it was over before i knew it.
It is very well researched and very well written.
P. Woodland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When an author has the ability to transfer intensive research into a subject planned for a novel and then transform that historic information into a thrilling and eloquently written work, it is a feat of passion for writing and for the topic about which the book is conceived. For those who have had the distinct pleasure of reading David-Michael Harding's recreation of WW II in HOW ANGELS DIE, then this recreation of American history from 1775 to 1821 and the manner in which America destroyed the Native Americans in order to take over the land being wrestled from British colonization will not come as surprise. Here, finally, is a two sided view of what really happened during that now embarrassing and shameful period in our country's history.

The story is fact, embellished by Harding's poetic prose. It is a touching tale of the legendary Cherokee war chief Tsi'yugunsini, the Dragon, taking a little orphan boy, Totsuhwa, under his wing. It is this passage of rights and power that places Totsuhwa in a world where he must be the one to defend the very existence of the Cherokee nation against the terrifying odds of facing General Andrew Jackson. The story is powerful, enlightening, and told with the force of a spear headed right for the heart. But despite the fact that the historical aspects are so clear, it is the language with which Harding tells the story that makes it a monumental achievement.

An example of this poetic approach to the body of the work is evident from the opening Prologue: `Autumn comes late in the Carolinas. Summer willfully drags her feet which pleases some and riles not but a few, including the trees which are anxious to change their hues, rid themselves of summer's trappings and rest in the coolness of the fall.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joan A. Adamak VINE VOICE on November 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
The author spent hours of historical research to bring forth the humanity and personalities of these people, who own a substantial share of our colonial history. He has brought to life some of the more famous Cherokees, their laws and codes by which they lived and dramatized it in such a manner that the reader is living these times with these people.

Tsi'yugunsini aka Dragging Canoe aka Dragon was one of the greatest Native Americans to have lived. As a war chief, he lived, loved, fought and died during the latter part of the eighteenth century when he was resisting the colonial settlers who were invading his area and whom he considered thieves and terrorists. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Dragon sided with the British because they weren't staying. The Shawnee Chief Tecumseh also sided with the British, mostly in the war of 1812. The two men fought together against the settlers in the Chickamauga Wars. Dragon refused to put his mark to the treaty of Sycamore Shoals and viciously fought the settlers and men who took the land from the Cherokees and made a fortune selling it to these new people flowing in from Europe. Dragon knew that no matter what these private land buyers bought from the Cherokees for a pittance, it was never enough. These same men were just as vicious in invading Indian encampments and slaying everyone, women, children, babies, but Dragon's war call struck terror in the hearts of all who heard it. Dragon was well respected by his people and a little boy whose parents had died attached himself to Dragon. He was the grandson of Ama Giga, an old woman who was a healer, had knowledge of the healing plants and had visions of the future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kinx's Book Nook on December 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The Cherokee Talisman is a powerful story of the Cherokee Nation's survival during a very turbulent time in American history. It is an incredibly realistic and brutal protrayal of a Cherokee man trying to save his family and Nation from the incroaching white man. Harding has written a masterful tale of survival that is not easily forgotten.

As you read this book, your emotions will take you to many places; outrage, sadness, shock and disgust. The violence is so shocking at times that you scarcely believe that it could actually happen. But it did. Harding's desciptions of the brutality are explicit and gut-wretching. Through the violence, you are able to picture the actrocities by both Cherokee and white man. At times, there are no heroes, only heartless and senseless violence. And I think Harding captured that time perfectly.

Totushma is the main character of the book; but I wouldn't call him a hero. He has many flaws and does some really horrible things in name of the Cherokee Nation. However, he is honorable and he truly loves his family and his People. His sincerity is readily apparent.

The white man is not protrayed in a very good light. In general, the white characters are racist, brutal and untrustworthy. They have absolute no respect for the Native American Nations. Women are savagely beaten, raped and murdered. There are no heroes at all. The total annihilation of the race is the only way.

At the same time, the Nations are trying to desperately survive against this brutality. Are they going to be destroyed or assimilated into the new culture? It is a struggle that fractures the Nations.

Mr. Harding has written an amazing story that is only the first in a new series. I really want to know what happens next to Totsuhma and his family. I want to know how they survive and what choices they have to make.
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