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A Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh Paperback


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A Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh + The Frontiersmen: A Narrative + Wilderness Empire: A Narrative (Winning of America Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1068 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books; Reprint edition (February 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055356174X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553561746
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though there are many biographies of the great Shawnee chief Tecumseh (1768-1813), this effort by historical novelist Eckert ( The Frontiersman ) may spark new interest--and controversy--with its "hidden dialogue" technique. After more than 25 years of research, the author felt free to recreate Tecumseh's conversations and thoughts in what proves to be an entertaining blend of fact and fiction. The orator and organizer's life was shaped by his tribe's tragic confrontation with westward-moving whites, who encroached on Native American lands along the Ohio River valley. His long struggle against this dispossession led Tecumseh to create a historic confederacy of tribes, but this crowning achievement was destroyed by his own brother at Tippecanoe in 1811. Eckert's dialogue is clunky, yet his colorful evocation of this seminal American figure will be more broadly accessible than are drier, more factual accounts.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A spirited but misdirected stab at a definitive biography of the great Shawnee warrior, from prolific historian and novelist Eckert, whose six-volume nonfiction The Winning of America series (Twilight of Empire, Gateway to Empire, etc.) paved the way for this epic. Employing what he terms ``narrative biography'' as a touchstone (and as an apparent euphemism for poetic license), Eckert embarks on a quest for the real Tecumseh, seeking a life buried beneath countless legends and tales. The result is a mammoth account of a remarkable American from the spectacular moment of his birth--concurrent with the appearance of a brilliant shooting star- -to his sudden death in the Battle of Thames in 1813, an event described in more than 40 different ways by ``eyewitnesses.'' Along with the portrait of a man of keen insight and ability--a natural leader who eschewed the role of chief but who sought tirelessly to unite all tribes in a pan-Indian movement--emerges a rich tapestry of Native American society in the Ohio region during Tecumseh's time. The Indian leader and his family, especially his brother, the prophet Tenskwatawa, figured dramatically in the growing violence along the frontier as white settlers swarmed across the Appalachians onto Indian lands. By emphasizing the greatness of Tecumseh, however, Eckert minimizes the significance of tribal unification as a wider phenomenon and the role of spiritual leaders in firing that movement, to the extent that, for instance, Tenskwatawa is depicted as a sniveling conniver achieving renown largely through his brother's generosity. A biography that succeeds better as fiction. Astoundingly detailed but ambitious to a fault, in its interpretative zeal it strays from, or at least embellishes, the historical record to the point of being suspect. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Allan W. Eckert, seven-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, has written 39 books, including his award-winning Incident at Hawk's Hill and The Frontiersman, plus numerous other historical narratives, novels and non-fiction works, as well as books for young adults and children.

Customer Reviews

Anyone who loves history will greatly enjoy this book and I recommend reading the Frontiersman.
Cindy
It is the story of Tecumseh's amazing life and his efforts to unite native Americans to defend all Indians against the white settlers and their government.
Jake Hims
Allan W. Eckert is an extraordinary writer, and tells Tecumseh's story beautifully and movingly.
Derrick Jensen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Evan Pritchard on November 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Eckert's A Sorrow in Our Hearts is nothing short of a masterpiece, and will assuredly stand the test of time, perhaps as no other "Native American" history book before it. I have read many hundreds of books on Algonquin history, and nothing I have seen comes close to A Sorrow In Our Hearts in being fair to the individuals involved. Eckert's portrayal of Tunskwatawa as a misguided opportunist may irritate some, but it holds together as the most credible explanation of how things turned out. I turn to this volume over and over again and it never ceases to amaze me the amount of useful information that it contains. It maintains a high level of historical accuracy without losing the mystical feeling of standing in Tecumseh's presence, seeing the world through his eyes, and the bracing sense of strength, courage and upliftment that those around him must have felt. If there were a sixth star to award this book, I would not hesitate to add it to my review.
I have stood by that battlefield where he died and heard the accounts of his demise and burial from a descendant of those who were there and I sense the greatness of the man, and somehow Eckert has managed to do him justice through a medium that is not always compatible with the Algonquin way, and it makes me feel that sorrow to which he refers. We all must die sooner or later, but Tecumseh was still a young man (younger than I am now) when he died at the battle of the Thames. When I am buried, let them lay me to rest with only a well worn copy of Eckert's A Sorrow In Our Hearts in my hands.
Evan Pritchard
Professor of Native American History, Marist College
author of Native New Yorkers, The Remarkable Legacy of the Algonquin People of New York;
No Word For Time, the Way of the Algonquin People, etc.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Matthew S. Schweitzer on September 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
"A Sorrow In Our Heart" is definately one of Eckert's best historical novels, right next to "The Frontiersmen" and "Dark and Bloody River". It, of course, tells the story of the Shawnee leader Tecumseh, who has been hailed by many as the greatest Indian leader of all time. Tecumseh came closer than any other before or after him to saving his people from total destruction by the whites on the eastern frontier in the early 19th century. In the end, Tecumseh's death is not just a loss in the Indians' long struggle against the Americans, it signals the death knell for their way of life, as their defeat in the War of 1812 sealed their fate on the North American continent. A great and a wonderfully entertaining book, history has never been so hard to put down.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1996
Format: Paperback
A review and recommendation by Elizabeth Brock

A Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh is a riveting biography of one of the most important men in the United States' history. However, those who want to read about Native Americans only to be politically correct should look elsewhere.

Eckert seems unafraid to write accurately about the history of our country. He glorifies neither the Native American nor the white man. He graphically describes savagery of both Indians and whites. Eckert's impartial account of how both sides partook in the spiral of revengeful, horrific acts can be difficult to face, but it is a testament to his willingness to delve into both the glory and ugliness of the past. Eckert's impressive list of other titles and his willingness to identify and explain in this book mistakes he made in previous books assures the reader that he is dedicated to documenting the truth. Eckert's passion for accuracy and meticulous documentation (as evidenced in 172 pages of Amplification Notes) of how he arrived at his account of actual events are fascinating in themselves.

This book unravels layer by layer. The author thoroughly explores the Ohio River Valley, the expansion of the United States, the mysticism of Tecumseh as a Shawnee leader and prophet, the treachery of sibling rivalry, the paradox of Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison's mutual enmity and admiration, and the stunning contributions of native peoples to the culture and vocabulary of America. (He also weaves in some incredible accounts of the tenacity of the legendary frontiersmen Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone.)

The reader's persistence in overcoming the book's volume and the difficulty of so many Native American names is well rewarded by the gains in knowledge and appreciation for the people and events that shaped North America during the turn of the 19th century. The reader's time is not wasted.<P
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
GROWING UP ON THE BANKS OF THE OHIO, I'VE HEARD EVERY LEGEND THERE IS CONCERNING TECUMSEH. I USED TO WALK TO THE SHAWNEE BURIAL MOUNDS WHICH ARE AN ARROW SHOT FROM MY PARENT'S HOME IN SILOAM, KY. I OFTEN TRIED TO IMAGINE WHAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE TO LIVE BACK THEN. WHILE NO HISTORIAN WILL EVER BE ABLE TO DECIFER WHAT IS TRUTH AND WHAT IS FOLKLORE. ALLAN W. ECKERT IS ABLE TO SEND YOU BACK IN TIME AND PLACE YOU AMONGST THESE HISTORICAL FIGURES. AND WHILE THIS WORK IS FICTIONAL IT IS ALSO BASED ON REAL CHARACTERS. ALLAN W. ECKERT IS TRULY AN ARTIST. WITH THE PAGE AS HIS CANVAS AND FACTS, MYTHS, AND LEGENDS, AS HIS INKS. HE PAINTS AN EXCELLENT PORTRAIT OF THIS LEGENDARY SHAWNEE'S LIFE.EXCELLENTLY WRITTEN AND RESEARCHED.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Derrick Jensen on April 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have a new hero. I recently came across this excellent biography of the great Indian leader Tecumseh, and I'm stunned. First, by Tecumseh. This brilliant warrior and visionary understood that civilization is insatiable, and that one must never make peace with the culture that uses any means necessary to kill the indigenous, and to kill the land. This is a powerful account of necessary resistance to the depredations of the dominant culture.
I'm stunned also by the writing. Allan W. Eckert is an extraordinary writer, and tells Tecumseh's story beautifully and movingly. The book is very hard to put down.
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