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Sitting Bull Paperback – March 19, 2009

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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Significant Seven, April 2008: As a celebrated warrior, shaman, and leader of the Lakota tribe, Sitting Bull was both a fascinating and frightening icon to the expanding United States, a 19th-century cross-cultural superstar who was at once a friend to Buffalo Bill and the emblem of Native American resistance in the face of the westward settlement. In Sitting Bull, Bill Yenne has produced a fascinating and exhaustively researched biography, drawing from contemporary sources as well as the iconic leader's own "Hieroglyphic Autobiography" (a series of pictographs depicting pivotal events in his life) to create an informal and relaxed account that still packs an amazing amount of detail. Recounting the exploits of the budding warrior known as Jumping Badger, his misunderstood role in the Battle of Little Big Horn, and his death on the eve of the massacre at Wounded Knee, Sitting Bull cuts through legend to place the Lakota leader square into his own cultural context, spurning the usual wasichu filters or biases. --Jon Foro --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this stirring biography, Yenne, author of numerous books on the history of the American West (Indian Wars, On the Trail of Lewis and Clark, etc.), captures the extraordinary life of Plains Indian leader Sitting Bull while providing new insight into the nomadic culture of the Lakota. Born in 1831, Sitting Bull witnessed the downfall of his people's way of life nearly from start to finish-despite some clashes, "the Lakota supremacy on the northern Plains remained essentially unchallenged" until the 1850s. Yenne describes how hostilities increased after the 1849 California gold rush, and were exacerbated by the opening of the railroad; conflicts and broken treaties would harden many Lakota against the colonists, including Sitting Bull. A high point is Yenne's account of how celebrity journalism created the myth of Custer's Last Stand, casting the general as hero and Sitting Bull as the villain, and how the US cavalry's defeat was used to justify forcing Indians off their land and onto reservations. The last half of the book describes Sitting Bull's unsuccessful attempts to defend the Lakota's land and culture through negotiation and peaceful resistance, alongside a dismal record of government betrayal and neglect. In this remarkable, tragic portrait, Sitting Bull emerges as a thoughtful, passionate and very human figure. 60 illustrations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Westholme Publishing; 1st Edition edition (March 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594160929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594160929
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,352,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bill Yenne is the author of more than three dozen books on historical topics, as well as several novels. He has contributed to encyclopedias of both world wars, and has been featured in several documentaries which have aired on the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Smithsonian Channel and ARD German Television. The "Wall Street Journal" notes that Yenne writes "with a cinematic vividness."

General Wesley Clark, US Army (Ret), former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, called Yenne's recent biography of Alexander the Great, the "best yet." Of his biography of Julius Caesar, Philip Delves Broughton wrote in the "Wall Street Journal" that "Yenne is excellent at describing Caesar in battle, mingling tactics and strategy with the smells and sounds of war." The New Yorker wrote of Sitting Bull, Yenne's biography of the great Lakota leader, that it "excels as a study in leadership." This book was named to the number 14 spot in Amazon's "100 Best Books of the Year" when it was released.

Meanwhile, Yenne's dual biography of Dick Bong and Tommy McGuire, Aces High: The Heroic Story of the Two Top-Scoring American Aces of World War II was described by pilot and best-selling author Dan Roam as "the greatest flying story of all time."

Yenne has also written extensively about the history of beer and brewing. His "Guinness: The 250 Year Quest for the Perfect Pint," was listed among the top business books of the year by "Condé Nast Portfolio Magazine," while the same publication rated the book as its top pick for "Cocktail Conversation."

Yenne's novels have included the "Bladen Cole" Westerns; an alternate history about General George Patton entitled "A Damned Fine War;" and the "Raptor Force" trilogy, an action-adventure series.

Bill Yenne lives in San Francisco, California, and on the web at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Rough Customer VINE VOICE on May 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Much has been heard and written on the Lakota chief Sitting Bull, famed from the battle at Little Big Horn, he was cast as the villian, the killer of Custer. He met Annie Oakley and he and she got along wonderfully. Sitting Bull was a headliner in Buffalo Bill's Wild West for a year and the photographs of him and Bill Cody are well known. This book covers all of the life of Sitting Bull, and traces his trials and tribulations, from the leader of a people faced with attacks by the US Army, driven from one spot to another, their supplies and winter food burned and destroyed, the bison which covered the plains in his youth, dropped to below a 1000 animals during his lifetime. A wise man, a humble man, a man not to be trifled with, he was brave, not afraid to take a life, not afraid to be kind and gentle with children, but a strong leader to his people and devoted to them. The author does a wonderful job in telling this story, well written, well organized, an enthralling story. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to understand the life of one of the most important Native Americans of the late 1800s.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By K. Bahr on August 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Bill Yenne

Sitting Bull by Bill Yenne is an interesting read. Yenne utilizes Stanley Vestal, Jerome Stillson of the New York Herald, Sitting Bull's Hieroglyphic Autobiography, and an assortment of first hand accounts to present this historic American Indian. For all of us "Custer People", there is a chapter on the Little Bighorn Battle in which Yenne writes "Custer probably feared that if he delayed his attack for another twenty-four hours - as he planned - then Gibbon would be a day closer and Custer would have to share this victory with him". There is an argument which establishes a good book. The book is filled with informative and controversial quotes. Yenne frequently dwells on Washington's government officials arguing over the necessary actions to solve their Indian dilemma. Politicians and red tape do not make a good western adventure, unfortunately that was their role in the history of the American West. I want to be with Custer out on the plains or in an Indian camp, not in an office in Washington.
Overall, the book was very good. Even the cover with Sitting Bull's picture and autograph is notable.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By S in Issaquah on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The critic's review of this book is right on: the book is well researched and written. The maps and photographs were much appreciated.

However, I found the abundance of typographical errors absolutely maddening. It's not unusual to find one, perhaps two type-set errors in any book, but the number of misspelled words and mangled sentences here was ridiculous. Not only are typos a discredit to the author's hard work, but they disrupt the flow of reading. As a reader, I want to interpret the author's sentence, not the typesetters mistakes.

While I recommend this book for content, I suggest waiting for a second print run which will hopefully correct the too numerous errors. As someone who enjoys collecting hard bound books for my library and supporting an author by paying the hard bound price, I was very disappointed that a book retailing at $30.00 was so poorly printed.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Indian Maid on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Tatanka Iyotake - Sitting Bull - was not the killer of Custer. He was certainly no villain. He was a spiritual leader of our People. According to my ancestors, who handed this story down to my generation, Custer killed himself rather than take what he had coming - and had fully earned - at the Battle of the Greasy Grass / what the majority culture calls "the Little Bighorn". I'm a great-grandmother now, writing through my man's account, and I have no reason to doubt the truth of the story my ancestors told.
We kept it among ourselves because of the repercussions we suffered back then, and still suffer today. To this day, we Lakota out here in "Dakota" Territory are harrassed in every way, all too often. Not as openly as used to be, but it's still there - the coffee-shop talk, the disparaging stereotypes, stuff like that. I call it, "the Custer effect". My People beat the crap out of Custer and his goons that June day so long ago, and whites have been crying about it ever since, and trying to "prove what really happened".
Custer was no hero; he was a murderer of babies and women, unarmed warriors and the elderly. Sitting Bull was a man of great pride and honor and strength. This book is worth reading more than once. Thanks for writing it!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Terpstra on June 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
The story of Sitting Bull is captivating and Bill Yenne does a great job telling this story. Yenne extensively sifted through the research and rumors surrounding Sitting Bulls' birth, later life, and even death. Although interesting as a whole, the text has numerous grammatical errors. Whether editor or printing press errors, they got to be fairly distracting and made me stop and re-read several sections to make sense of them.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Matthew J. Cunningham on June 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Just finished reading "Sitting Bull." Enjoyed it very, very much. There are wonderful photos and maps, one including good old Highmore, SD. The book is a dramatic and scholarly accomplishment. Professor Yellowtail's glowing endorsement must feel like a crowning feather. Has he given the author an Indian name?!
I was surprised to learn that Sitting Bull was only with Bill Cody's Wild West in 1885 and never went to Europe, never performed for Queen Victoria. As the book points out, it was his deaf stepson, later known as John Sitting Bull, who toured Europe with Cody's Wild West during a few years after the turn of the century. Indeed, the popular confusion about this persists and resurfaced the other day at lunch with our tennis players. How nice to have it right!
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