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Savages and Scoundrels: The Untold Story of America's Road to Empire through Indian Territory Hardcover – April 21, 2009


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Savages and Scoundrels: The Untold Story of America's Road to Empire through Indian Territory + Coyote Warrior: One Man, Three Tribes, and the Trial That Forged a Nation
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition, First Printing edition (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300125631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300125634
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #788,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

". . . . [A] riveting, often chilling account of how a young, land-hungry nation . . . invent[ed] the laws and policies that enabled it to push aside a people who . . . held legal ownership of millions of square miles of ancestral land."— Marc Covert, The Oregonian
(Marc Covert The Oregonian)

"Paul VanDevelder has written a lively and fast-paced account of some of the major examples of the United States' acquisition of American Indian lands and assets."--Robert J. Miller, Great Plains Quarterly
(Robert J. Miller Great Plains Quarterly)

“This is a powerful story composed of careful scholarship, great adventure, and compassion. It is written like the wind, a macroscopic overview of manifest destiny with a vibrant cast of thousands. It is one of the best books I have ever read about our national tragedy.”—John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War

(John Nichols)

"Savages and Scoundrels tells a deeply saddening American story, detailing the long history of the European take-over and unscrupulous exploitation of Native American homelands. Let’s hope that this exceptionally meaningful and useful account finds a responsive audience among the citizens who deal with tribal, religious and ethic complexities and conflicts anywhere around the world."—William Kittredge, author of Hole in the Sky

(William Kittredge)

Praise for Paul VanDevelder’s Coyote Warrior:
“Intense, heroic, patriotic, heartbreaking, uplifting, wise, and instructive, Coyote Warrior is a major work of history….It is our country’s story, and it is our responsibility to know it. I’m grateful to Paul VanDevelder for telling it.”—Rick Bass, author of Winter
(Rick Bass)

"VanDevelder's research on this relatively unknown story of federal-Indian relations is impeccable and infused with a humanizing of what has elsewhere been treated as merely a footnote in history."—Kurt Peters, Oregon State University
(Kurt Peters)

"A fast moving drama about the rapacious development of American treaty policy toward the indigenous Indian tribes…compelling and highly relevant."—Greg Munro, University of Montana School of Law
(Greg Munro)

"VanDevelder promises to "recontextualize and realign some of the major themes in America's story that have been mythologized and embroidered in many of our familiar, widely read and widely taught histories." It's a promise he keeps. Savages and Scoundrels is a riveting, often chilling account of how a young, land-hungry nation went about inventing the laws and policies that enabled it to push aside a people who, by its own admission and landmark court decisions, held legal ownership of millions of square miles of ancestral land."—Marc Covert, The Oregonian

(Marc Covert The Oregonian 2009-05-01)

About the Author

Paul VanDevelder is a journalist and author. His book Coyote Warrior: One Man, Three Tribes, and the Trial That Forged a Nation was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Juan C. Peinado on June 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Paul VanDevelder has given us the equivalent of the Rosetta Stone in deciphering the relationship between the Native American society and the rest of Western civilization. Few authors have so eloquently put to words the incision point for the reader (casual or scholarly) to begin to understand the complexities of the Native American story without falling into the trappings of sentimentalism or populist hegemony. Finally, a book that should demand the attention of anyone who even considers stepping onto the field of Native American studies with a mind towards original thought on the matter.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Janet Daley Jury on December 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
We Americans like our heroes, and we often resist or reject truth-telling, especially when it contradicts the sanitized version of history we learned in twentieth-century classrooms (mine in the 1950s or my mother's in the 1930s). Paul VanDevelder understands the tension created when we are asked to reexamine the causes and consequences of government policies that resulted in the near-annihilation of the first peoples of North America. With the title Savages and Scoundrels, readers are forewarned that he is going to kick ass and take names.

Paul VanDevelder is no scold, however. He is a careful researcher, brilliant writer, and a scholar who cares deeply about the future of the environment and people who inhabit it. It is this commitment to the humanities, the ties that make us human, that runs through this book, as it did in his earlier book, Coyote Warrior, which concentrated on the story of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara peoples displaced by the building of the Garrison Dam in North Dakota.

The narrative begins with the unforgettable figure of Louise Holding Eagle, returning home from a shopping trip in May 1951 to find her family gone, her home, outbuildings, even the chicken coop, gone. How she and many others, including both Native Americans and their white neighbors, lost their land to the decision (declared by Felix Cohen as "not legally possible") of the U.S. Congress and President Harry Truman to adopt the Pick-Sloan Plan, and forcibly take the privately owned and the trust lands in the heart of North Dakota's agricultural breadbasket. More than ever, we need to understand where the roots of this betrayal of the treaty made at Fort Laramie in 1851 began.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By daveh on May 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Savages and Scoundrels is a meticulously researched and passionately composed story of how the West was really won. Author Paul VanDevelder writes with a style that can only come from the heart. He begins by establishing a background of the politics behind our country's early westward expansion and the obstacles we encountered, both legal and ethical. The book becomes a drama of hopes and promises that resolves into greed and atrocities, complete with the justifications our leaders used to divert attention from their illegal actions.

Before reading the book, I knew who some of the scoundrels were, and now I know some of the savages. They were the ones who contributed to the genocide and racial brutality that cleared the way for our cities, farms and infrastructure. I recommend Savages and Scoundrels as an important and insightful read for the general public as well as the historical scholar.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Seraphim on April 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are the type of person that feels that all America has done, can do and will do is sanctified by God don’t read this book.
But if you really care about your country and are willing to understand where were going by looking back to where we have been this could be a worthwhile read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patrick L. Hadlock on August 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This riveting account of our Country's march to the West and how it affected the native people who lived here should be on every American History reading list. Unfortunately, even the men who meant well in their dealings with the tribes did much damage. Vandevelder does an excellent job of weaving together the backgrounds and interconnections between many individuals, tribes, government actions and basic philosophical tenets to reveal the true history of how the West was lost.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brenna Daugherty on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Paul VanDevelder's much anticipated sequel to Coyote Warrior does not disappoint. Written in the gripping prose style VanDevelder is famous for, Savages and Scoundrels is a meticulously researched account of a dark period in American history. This book is a must read for every citizen.
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By Patrilla Warner on December 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very informative, well written am amazed how our Government treated the Indians until President Nixon, the first, to finely started some programs that help I have received another book that I used for a gift.
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By Byron Sneva on June 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a newly minted civil engineer in my first encounter with the practice, I was excited to be to be part of the solution to controlling the mighty Missouri River in the construction of the Garrison Dam in North Dakota.Not once during my work there did I even think about the story of its beginning nor of its consequences. My only thoughts were of the challenge to construct it, which was the most massive in every detqail--colosl..and intriquing. It was after my retirement from a varied professonal engineering career that I came to understand the implicatios of such a massive undertaking with so little evaluation of the native American people that lived in the heart of the project..We can never correct that misguided nature of our government, such a robus tlife style thry had in that valley, a "garden of Eden", in the midst of that harsh climate and now under water with thier dreams.Paul has brought to tight in a brilliant story of our history that should not go un -noticed.
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