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That Dark and Bloody River (Historical Fiction) Paperback – September 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Ohio River, a principal route for pioneers pushing westward along its 981-mile course from Pennsylvania through Kentucky and Indiana to Illinois, was the scene of fierce battles among warring Indian tribes?Shawnee, Miami, Cherokee, Iroquois, etc.?and between Native Americans and white settlers. Tapping journals, letters, diaries and government memoranda from 1768 to 1799, and fleshing out his panoramic chronicle with reconstructed dialogue adapted from primary sources, historian-novelist Eckert has fashioned an epic narrative history of the struggle for dominance of the Ohio River Valley that makes compelling reading. The lives of notable pioneer families (Zanes, Bradys, Wetzels), incursions of traders, explorers, colonists, adventurers and the historic exploits of George Washington, Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark and others intersect. A biographer of Shawnee chief Tecumseh (A Sorrow in Our Heart), Eckert emphasizes the sudden, overwhelming movement of whites into Native American lands and the Indians' initial restraint and tolerance, followed by furious raids, wars and expulsions. Maps.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Eckert (A Sorrow in Our Heart, LJ 2/15/92) stands on an uncommon ground between academic and popular writers. His use of the "hidden dialog" as a means of writing history had been termed "documentary fiction." Here, he takes on the long and varied history of the Ohio River valley, engendered by indigenous Americans and settlers from European powers?French, Dutch, English, and Spanish. Eckert introduces a considerable number of Indians into the Ohio environment, utilizing a variety of fascinating primary resources to tell the history of the region and its people from 1768 to 1795. The final product, readable and rich in history, nevertheless will create problems for the historian and concern for the general reader. Those looking for a thorough history of the valley will be disappointed, and book selectors need to be aware of the type of history this book represents.?Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., Ala.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Mysteries & Horror
  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books; Reprint edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553378651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553378658
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Matthew S. Schweitzer on September 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
By far the best and most engaging chronicle of the border wars of the Ohio River Valley, Dark and Bloody River takes us back to the time and place first encountered in Eckert's other great book, The Frontiersmen. This was the first Eckert novel I read and it hooked me from the start. It begins with a description of the ancient Indians to first settle the land that would later become known to some as Kentucky and the Ohio Valley, and to others as "That Dark and Bloody Ground". It ends with the closing of the eastern frontier in Ohio in the early 19th century and the twilight of the Indian way of life. What comes in between is a classic tale of historic adventure and horror. Eckert is known for his great historical novels and this is one of the best. Here we again encounter some familiar characters like Daniel Boone, Simon kenton, and Simon Girty. Eckert gives one of the most sympathetic interpretations of the white renegade Girty to date, portraying him here as a troubled frontiersman who was more a victim of years of character assasination than the satanic monster he was remembered as. Here we also meet Lewis Wetzel and Eckert makes clear that Wetzel, though hailed as a frontier hero in his time and for decades to come, was most surely a cold-hearted killer, intent upon exterminating the Indian race from the face of North America. This is really a great book and despite being some 600 pages, has often been reread.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Fitzgerald on June 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an unabashed fan of Allen W. Eckert so if you seek an impartial review, best mosey on. This is one terrific book, possibly his very best.

Focusing on the first serious push west of the Appalachian Mountains and down the Ohio River by colonials after the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1764, the book details the continuing settlement efforts through the Revolutionary War and on to the early 1800's.

As in any migration in US history, this one was seriously contested in a most deadly manner. Literally, thousands upon thousands of people were scalped, butchered, skinned alive, impaled on stakes and tortured in the most unbelievably sadistic manner. There are no nice guys here. Both sides, the early American colonists and subsequent American citizens as protagonists and the Native Americans and their subsequent British allies, mounted military campaigns, patrols, ambuscades and battles that are quite shocking in their intensity and deadly intent. Even more stunning by today's standards, both sides paid for scalps. No sweetheart contest here, Eckert details a long, 30 + year bloody campaign, fought with ingenuity and hate. It is a continuous campaign fought over fur and land and Eckert puts you smack in the middle of it.

This fine book chronicles the major western migration route which settled and wrested control of the Trans Appalachian territory from Britain, France and Spain. It helped me understand, for the first time, just how serious the threat was of the possible separation of the Trans Appalachian west from the eastern seaboard comprising the original 13 States. By 1800 1 milliom people, 20% of our population, lived west of the Applachians.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Terry L on October 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent history of the Ohio River Valley during the time period covered. However, this book is written more along the lines of a typical history book than his "Winning of America" series (The Frontiermens, Wilderness Empire, etc.) That isn't bad, it just means that it is less of the narrative style than one is used to in Eckert's books. Also, I found some of the events and happenings covered in this book to be more engaging in his other books. Eckert mentions in his introduction that he didn't want to just repeat things in this book that he had already covered in other books, but I think this is a "stand alone" book and he should have used all his best stuff for this book instead of worring about repeating what he wrote in his other books. In any case, this is an excellent book that keeps one interested; it just doesn't have as much of the "being part of the action" that is displayed in some of his other writings. With this book one is more of the outsider looking in on history instead of being involved in it; although it is still better written that most books concerning history. Also, there are a few instances of possible errors of history. For example, concerning Braddock's defeat at the Monongahela in 1755, Eckert states that Braddock was shot purposely by one of his own men. I can't think of any other historian who has no doubt on that matter. While it can not be proven that he wasn't shot by one of his own men, there is also not concrete evidence that he was. In fact, most evidence points to the opposite. Eckert, however, states it as fact. Every other historian seems to believe it not to be true, or at the most, doubtful. Eckert should have pointed this out. Also, dealing with the same battle, Eckert claims that the great Indian leader Pontiac was present.Read more ›
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Peter A. Greene VINE VOICE on August 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Nobody else writes history quite like Eckert; like the rest of his works, this can be read as easily as a novel, but is thoroughly researched and based on the most solid scholarship imaginable.
The sheer volume of incidents can be almost numbing, to watch time after time after time as the guilty and the innocent, the young and the old, die bloody, brutal deaths. But the cumulative effect is to show just how harsh and difficult life in the late 1700's could be. On that emotional level, this book is not unlike the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan.
Much of the events of this novel take place right in my own neighborhood, and it's stirring to realize how tough life was here at one time. We don't ordinarily associate Pittsburgh, PA or Wheeling, WV with tough frontier life, yet here they are.
Eckert remains for the most part very even-handed and unafraid to show these people in their complexity-- heroic on one occasion, venal and nasty on another. This is living, breathing history. Highly recommended.
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