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In the Spirit of Crazy Horse Paperback – Unabridged, March 1, 1992


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In the Spirit of Crazy Horse + The Snow Leopard (Penguin Classics) + Shadow Country (Modern Library Paperbacks)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Story of Leonard Peltier and the FBI's war on the American Indian Movement (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (March 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140144560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140144567
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

''A giant of a book…Indescribably touching, extraordinarily intelligent.'' --Los Angeles Times Review

''Meticulously researched . . . A courageous document.'' --Boston Globe

''A book of enormous importance . . . You have to believe that Crazy Horse would have loved its renegade spirit and unflinching reach for the truth.'' ''A giant of a book…Indescribably touching, extraordinarily intelligent.'' --Los Angeles Times Review

''Meticulously researched . . . A courageous document.'' --Boston Globe

''A book of enormous importance . . . You have to believe that Crazy Horse would have loved its renegade spirit and unflinching reach for the truth.'' Milwaukee Journal ''By the time I had turned the final page, I felt angry enough . . . to want to shout from the rooftops, 'Wake up, America, before it is too damned late!' For Matthiessen, in this extraordinary, complex work, powerfully propounds several large and disturbing themes which the white majority in America will ignore at extreme peril.'' --Washington Review

''An important and angry book that belongs on the shelf containing A Century of Dishonor, Custer Died for Your Sins, and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.'' --Wallace Stegner, New Republic

''Narrator Mark Bramhall can pronounce the extensive vocabulary of American Indian languages, and his voice brings to mind what modern Caucasians might imagine to be the speech patterns of eighteenth-century Native Americans trying to speak English.'' --AudioFile --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Peter Matthiessen was the cofounder of the Paris Review and is the author of numerous works of nonfiction, including In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Indian Country, and The Snow Leopard, winner of the National Book Award.


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Customer Reviews

Please read this book, you will not be sorry you did.
Bruce H. Ulanet
Peter Matthiessen allows the story to unfold with events as they transpired and so the ground shifts frequently through the telling to its final conclusion.
David Collins
If you believe the US is never wrong, and do not have an open mind on the issue, this book will make you angry.
Gregory Brown

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Angela Olive on March 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a marvelously well researched book. In respsonse to some of the bad reviews I have read I have to say that yes, Matthiessen does not try to hide the fact that he sides with the Indians. Yes the book is biased in the favor of the Indians. So what. When you examine the FBI and the US Government's history of maltreatment of all minorities, especially native peoples, why should an author feel obligated to paint the establishment in a flattering light. He is simply exposing the ugly truth of the dark underbelly of our "democracy".
This is hard for some people to handle, thus the poor reviews. Ask yourself this, in the midst of phenomenal violence why does the FBI never investigate dozens of unsolved murders, instead devoting lots of man-hours to tracking down Jimmy Eagle for the theft of a pair of cowboy boots???You be the judge.
This is an amazing read. Thankfully, the FBI, Special Agent David Price and Governor William Janklow all lost in thier legal attempts to keep this information from us. So celebrate freedom of press and curl up with this book!!! Freedom for Leonard
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83 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Bruce H. Ulanet on October 11, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book picks up where "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" left off, and unfortunately for Indian people the story does't get any happier. This book should be required reading for every high school student, journalist, politician or law enforcement professional. It shows us that despite the fine and uplifting words of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence that support our democracy, human dignity and civil rights always need to be fought for and protected by people. Unfortunately for all of us, sometimes innocent people lose the battle, and this is a story about some of them. Please read this book, you will not be sorry you did.
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51 of 63 people found the following review helpful By D. MILLS on November 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was meticulously researched. The author reviewed thousands of pages of documents, conducted dozens of interviews and visited dozens of sites. He reviewed evidence presented by both sides: the FBI and the Indians. He considered the opinions of people on both sides.
However, it's not just a research book. The book is peppered with the author's own opinions and speculations as well as the opinions and speculations of other people interviewed. He retells the story several times through the eyes of the different witnesses. Some of the witnesses actually change their accounts more than once. In the end, the killer himself (whoever that may be) is probably the only living person who knows what really happened.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on June 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Those interested in the history of Native Americans will know that relatively few books cover the travails and challenges faced by Indians in the present day. This classic by Matthiessen is one of the best investigations in recent memory of how Indians still face a variety of hardships and harassment caused both by modern social problems and the legacy of their cultural annihilation. Matthiessen's topic here is the brief notoriety of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the early-to-mid 1970s, culminating in the much-discussed case against Leonard Peltier for the murder of two government agents.

Here Matthiessen covers not just the story of Peltier and AIM, but also the historical influences that culminated in the bloody 1975 confrontation in South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation. Matthiessen did an immense amount of research and delivered a highly compelling account of Peltier and the shootout, revealing that the situation was far more complex than is commonly believed (or reported in the mainstream press). The reader will find that Matthiessen does not necessarily find solid proof of Peltier's innocence. However, there is overwhelming evidence that Peltier definitely did not receive a fair trial, and a litany of Constitutional violations was committed by the illegitimate tribal government and its goons (the main source of animosity with AIM), federal agents, state and federal politicians, judges and lawyers, and prison officials.

The complex relationships among these parties, the unhappy history of the Pine Ridge Indians, and modern social problems were all at play in a situation far more complex than a simple shootout between an Indian militant and some agents.
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37 of 48 people found the following review helpful By "zarings3" on July 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. Peter Matthiessen covers all the bases. His depth of coverage is astounding. Everytime I had a question about a person or event, they were answered somewhere in the book. It is an amazing telling of what are truly frightening events in our history. It creates a desire to learn more and more, not just about what happened to the Lakota people, but about our government. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone! The fact that it took so long to be published speaks volumes about the content.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful By David Alston on September 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm often deeply suspicious of writing as political as one finds in this book - I greatly admire Matthiessen's writings on travel, nature and Buddhism, but found his novel "At Play In The Fields Of The Lord" a bit ham-fisted in its' approach, even when I agreed with it's sentiments.

But after a few reads, several years apart, IN THE SPIRIT OF CRAZY HORSE stands as a great, damning document - it's a piece of work that is impressive and massive, and will leave you infuriated.

The entire work is built around the trial and conviction of Leonard Peltier, and rather than simply recount the events or press an agenda, Matthiessen goes to meticulous lengths to contextualize and cover every side of the background. The history of the Sioux Lakota is covered extensively, as are the social conditions (health, income, education, and the infamous violence) on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The AIM (American Indian Movement) emerges on Pine Ridge, and it should be noted that the reservation is officially two counties - Shannon and Jackson, which were administered from elsewhere in the state, and run by Bureau of Indian Affairs appointees, instead of by an elected government (the case in most US counties). These appointees' extreme and unorthodox tactics in administering the reservation dovetailed nicely with FBI surveillance and subversion of suspected subversive groups, including AIM, and the paranoia generated set the stage for the firefight and subsequent trial.
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