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Indian Wars
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2005
This is a straight forward narrative history of the Indian Wars on the North American continent from the time English colonists arrived in the New World until the final confrontation between the US Government and the Sioux at Wounded Knee in 1890. As can be seen throughout the book the conflicts were almost inevitable. The perspective presented by the authors is that, "...both Indians and whites were products of their time and place, responding to the values, attitudes, and beliefs of their time and place, not ours....If war resulted, it was the collision of two ways of life, not the malevolent determination of one to overcome and victimize the other." (p. vi) As the authors point out, in the end the European strategy the Indians couldn't overcome, and one the Europeans couldn't control, was the overwhelming movement of Europeans and Americans onto and throughout the continent. It was the sheer number of Europeans and Americans along with their villages, towns, mines, and farms that overwhelmed any Indian resistance and way of life.

What makes the book interesting is that it is a military history focused on the Indian Wars throughout the English history of North America; it therefore provides continuity throughout the centuries without being overshadowed by more conventional conflicts. Of interest in the early period is the impact of European wars on the relationships between whites and Indians in the east as the French and English allied with Indian tribes against their enemies. Lest anyone think the Europeans "used" the tribes in these wars it must be remembered that the tribes also used the Europeans to further their interests, in the end not caring about war or peace between the European rivals.

Unfortunately the book is not as comprehensive as it could be since its focus is on the English/American wars with the Indians. It doesn't address relationships between the Indians and the French, nor, more significantly, does it cover the wars between the Spanish and the Indians -- wars which were fought just as relentlessly and left an even more negative relationship between Mexicans and Indians.
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36 of 46 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 20, 2000
This is the book you want if you want a highly informative history of Indian Conflicts starting from Jamestown all the way to Wounded Knee. I virtually felt embarrassment reading about the early trends of the colonists to take advantage of Indians through the kidnapping and killing of chiefs to exploitation of their land and the constant pressure to move them west. From Bacon's (Bacon's Rebellion) attack of any Indians peaceful or otherwise in the 1600's to every conflict in the northeast to the west including King Phillip's War, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Mangas Colorado, Cochis, Commanche's, the Murdoc war. Includes the causes of war, the problem with reservations, Indian agents and the Armies strategies and commanders. A concise and thorough book that is your gateway for more detailed reading on the Indians of North America and their conflicts with manifest destiny.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2006
I would recommend this book for anyone who is not a "buff" in the area of Native American history. It provides a good historical foundation in a rather sweeping treatment of the topic. I personally used this book as a spring board to jump into a fascinating historical treatment of Crazy Horse, as re-told by Sandoz in "Crazy Horse - Strange Man of the Oglalas". Had I not read Indian Wars first, I would not have enjoyed the latter nearly so much. Indian Wars is definitely a good place to start building your knowledge of American Indian wars and skirmishes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 4, 2013
This is an excellent overview of the wars between the British -- later the Americans -- and the Indians. Many books tell the story piecemeal, especially regarding the later wars with the plains and western tribes; this one tells it from beginning to end and yet manages to do so succinctly, compactly, and entertainingly. The account is balanced and objective, explaining the virtues and faults of both sides' positions.

My quibble is that much of the book describes the movement of troops and tribes and the events of their battles and yet it contains, at least in my paperback edition, no maps to illustrate that. They would have been greatly helpful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2012
I acquired this book back a good 20 years ago and recently began to read my copy again. Since I was most interested in the second half of the book I began reading there about the Wars in what we call the old west.

This book is naturally slanted to explaining the wars and conflict the Indians had with the white folks that "invaded" their lands. It does have some sections broken out to explain what garrison life was like for the soldiers and other topics like life on the reservation or the scouts that helped the soldiers. This helps to give a more human feel to the conflicts that occurred. The book is full of great illustrations, photos and some maps. They could have included a few more maps but, the balance is there. You can find out why it did not work out so well to throw several tribes onto the same reservation and not expect conflict.

Recently we spotted and old book on Indians at the local library bookstore. The book was lacking maps altogether. My wife did not understand why that mattered much. Till I was trying to explain where various Indians lived on a map from this book did it become clear. You need to know who and what were neighbors to each tribe. How they reacted makes sense when you see it all from the perspective of a map. Then it makes sense why shipping some Apaches off to Florida was such a big deal. It's the little things included in the book that really make it worth the money.

The only reason I did not give it a 5 star rating is the lack of additional maps. It has plenty of art and photos.

Great over view of our long standing interaction with the varying tribes of North America and the United States. Sadly, as one chief put it (paraphrasing) - "I knew they would not keep their promises. The only one they keep was that they would be taking our land". Only too true.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2012
Robert Utley and Wilcomb E. Washburn presents a great overview of the conflicts between the Native-American populations in North America and the Europeans who came to settle on the continent. Over 300 pages of history is packed in this book that starts with skirmishes between English settlers and the Powhatan Confederacy in Viginia in 1622 and ends with the final surrender of the Sioux at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1890. In between, various wars and trials are given a summation. The uprising of Chief Pontiac, the defiance of Chief Osceola of the Seminoles and the unsucessful uniting of indian tribes under Tecumseh are some of the highlights of this book. The two events that stood out to me the most in reading this book are the eviction of the Cherokees from their native lands in Georgia and Tennessee and their subsequent march to Indian Territory via the "trail of tears" and the sad death of Chief Black Kettle of the Southern Cheyenne in 1868. I recommend this book as a starting-off point to those who wish to study these regrettable events in U.S. History. The only dissapointments in this book are the lack of an index and bibliography which could have directed the reader to in-depth resources on these conflicts. A great read nonetheless. Five stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2014
This is a broad sweep of Indian wars in all regions of the US, from the founding of Jamestown (1608) and Plymouth (1620) through the final battle at Wounded Knee in 1891. The text is only 300 pages, so the details and backround of events are limited. It has no bibliography or maps, and many of the photos don't relate to the narrative, which doesn't help matters. For these reasons I can't give it top marks, but it is still a worthwhile read. This history is in two parts, the first written by Washburn, covers the expansion to the Mississippi up to 1846; and the second part is by Utley, covering the West.
Both authors are knowledgeable of their subject and able to write an interesting account. As with all historical events, these wars take place in a broader context, and the authors provide some, though short. They do at least point out many of the reasons why the treaty system failed so miserably: greed, revenge, power, pride, ambition, incompetance, treachery, fear, confusion, ignorance, etc. It's all mentioned, but not developed. This is a consise history told with some measure of balance, without which no understanding of insane violence can be gained. Recommended as a starter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2014
wonderful to read the sad story of American Indians during 1860-1890 time period. Very readable book about major indian tribes, their leaders, battles, and what happened to their life styles during tis period.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a straightforward story of wars between Europeans and Native Americans. It tells of horrors perpetrated by both sides and provides a balanced view of the wars. Utley, in an introduction, says (Page vi): "Washburn [his co-author] and I breasted the popular tide by trying to show that both Indians and whites were products of their time and place, responding to the values, attitudes, and beliefs of their time and place, not of ours."

The tale begins with a story of the tensions between Pamunkey Indians and John Smith's colonists in the New World in 1608; the battles between settlers and Indians at Jamestown in 1622; in 1675, militia tricked several Indian Chiefs and murdered them. And on it went, with the ever increasing number of Europeans pushing Indians into acts of violence in return. There were atrocities on both sides.

Later, General Braddock and his troops, in the French & Indian War, were defeated by a joint force of French troops and Indian warriors. Following this are chapters depicting various wars and skirmishes, such as Pontiac's rebellion, Indians' involvement in the American Revolution (some siding with the rebellious colonists and some with England--even splitting the Iroquois Confederacy), the war of Tecumseh against settlers (one of the key battles helped set the stage for William Henry Harrison to become President years later).

The book discusses the war between whites and Indians in the Plains. It concludes with the aftermath of Wounded Knee.

For those who want a straightforward introduction to the subject, this book will do.
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on May 11, 2015
American Heritage created an excellent historical series to include American Indians. This is an excellent example of the quality of work done by American Heritage. The one created on the Civil War is another example of books I have in my library.
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