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The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend Hardcover – November 5, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First edition (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451654669
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451654660
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (228 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For all of our culture&'s fascination with the American Indian, it&'s almost impossible to believe that one of the most well-known Indians of his time, the Oglala Sioux warrior chief Red Cloud, could be largely forgotten until now. Yet that&'s exactly what we discover in this illuminating account by Drury and Clavin (Halsey&'s Typhoon). As the de facto leader of the Western Sioux nation—an unprecedented feat in itself given the Sioux&'s rigorous individualism and a culture consisted of fluid, haphazard tribal groups—Red Cloud and his army stand alone in history as the only Indians to ever defeat the United States in a war, which took all of two years (1866–1868). A history inconveniently at odds with the accepted American narrative, the manuscript for Red Cloud&'s 1893 autobiography lay in a drawer at the Nebraska State Historical Society into the 1990s. Thanks to that work and the authors&' extensive, additional scholarship, readers now have access to a much more thorough, comprehensive understanding of the Plains Indians&' brutal and tragically futile efforts to protect their land and way of living from the progress of civilization. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel-Weber Associates. (Nov.)





“A ripping yarn . . . A quintessentially Western tale of bold exploits, tough characters, brutal conditions and a lost way of life, this sounds like the sort of story that practically tells itself. Yet you only realize how little justice most popular histories do to their source material when you come across a book, like this one, that does everything right. It’s customary to say of certain nonfiction books — gussied up with plenty of 'color' and psychological speculation — that they 'read like a novel,' but truth be told, most of the time we’d have to be talking about a pretty mediocre novel. The Heart of Everything That Is, on the other hand, resembles the good ones. There were times, turning its pages, when I could almost smell the pines of the Black Hills, feel the icy wind tearing down from Canada across the prairie and hear the hooves of the buffalo pounding the earth.” (Laura Miller Salon)

“Exquisitely told . . . Remarkably detailed . . . The story of Red Cloud's unusual guile and strategic genius makes the better-known Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse pale in comparison. . . . This is no knee-jerk history about how the West was won, or how the West was lost. This historical chronicle is unabashed, unbiased and disturbingly honest, leaving no razor-sharp arrowhead unturned, no rifle trigger unpulled. . . . A compelling and fiery narrative.” (USA Today)

“Vivid . . . Lively . . . A tale of lies, trickery, and brutal slaughter . . . In telling the story of Red Cloud, Messrs. Drury and Clavin appropriately bring a number of the larger-than-life figures from that time onstage . . . [and] chronicle in considerable detail the shameful treatment of the Indians across the plains and the destruction of their ancient way of life.” (Christopher Corbett, The Wall Street Journal)

“A page turner . . . Drawing on archives, letters, and a long-lost autobiography written toward the end of Red Cloud’s life, the narrative has a remarkable immediacy . . . [and] the narrative sweep of a great Western.” (Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe)

“Valuable . . . Meticulous . . . [A] remarkable story . . . The writers don’t shy away from the atrocities on both sides of the gruesome, long-running conflict between the Indians and the U.S. forces. But when, for the umpteenth time, U.S. officials break a contract as soon as the glint of gold is spotted in the hills, one cannot help but feel that there’s all the more reason to celebrate one of the Sioux’s most impressive fighters.” (Smithsonian)

“The authors paint a full and vivid picture of the Oglala Sioux leader . . . The story of Red Cloud is presented here with all the tension and excitement of a good Western novel. . . . The narrative is gripping but not sentimental, and it is well-sourced, drawing, for example, on Red Cloud’s autobiography, lost for nearly a century, and the papers of many others who knew Red Cloud’s War.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“Astounding . . . A tour de force of historical storytelling . . . The Heart of Everything That Is is grand in scope and beautifully observed. . . . Together, [Drury and Clavin] have managed a feat of scholarship that interweaves ethnological brilliance and an insightful reinterpretation of Indian culture from the point of view of the Sioux.” (The Wichita Eagle)

“Riveting . . . Meticulously researched . . . One of the biggest stories in American history . . . The authors uncovered a wealth of material from diaries and letters written by U.S. military officers and their wives and children, and wilderness trackers, plus a treasure trove of historical information gleaned from the letters and journals of the pioneers who crossed the Great Plains during the 1800s.” (Indian Country Today)

“A gripping narrative . . . This fascinating book is highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of the Old West.” (Library Journal, starred review)

"Comprehensive . . . For all of our culture’s fascination with the American Indian, it’s almost impossible to believe that one of the most well-known Indians of his time, the Oglala Sioux warrior chief Red Cloud, could be largely forgotten until now. Yet that’s exactly what we discover in this illuminating account." (Publishers Weekly)

“Histories of the Sioux Wars have too often cast all other warriors into the shadow of Crazy Horse. Drury and Clavin shine welcome light on Red Cloud, a brilliant leader and military strategist whose life was an important part of this brutal and decisive movement in America’s history. This is an absorbing and evocative examination of the endgame in the three-hundred-year war between Native Americans and settlers of European descent.” (Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain)

“The word ‘epic’ is overused these days. Not here. This is big, blazing history, writ large on the High Plains. Clavin and Drury handle it beautifully. Through the striking historical figure of Red Cloud, they tell story of the Sioux Nation and of the fight for the American West.” (S. C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon)

“Red Cloud is one of the great figures in nineteenth-century America’s tortured relationships with the many peoples who occupied our country before we took it. Finally, there is a portrait worthy of the man, fully drawn and realized, all the complicated undertow acknowledged and embraced.” (Ken Burns, filmmaker and coauthor of The Civil War)

“Finally we have the full story of Red Cloud, told without the sentimentality and delusional romance that too many white historians bring to the American native tribes. The Powder River country of the West entrapped two equally objectionable groups—the soldiers that Washington sent to decimate the tribes, and the tribes themselves, who had been slaughtering each other for centuries. That stirring but bloodthirsty era deserves an honest treatment like this.” (Rinker Buck author of Flight of Passage)

More About the Author

Men's Health Contributing Editor and chief military correspondent Bob Drury has been nominated for three National Magazine Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. He has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and Darfur among other sites. He is also the author, co-author, or editor of nine nonfiction books, including The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat (Grove-Atlantic Press), the recipient of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation's 2010 General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award for nonfiction.

His latest book, Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam (Simon & Schuster), was published in May 2011. His new Kindle Single, Signature Wound, is available from Amazon.

Customer Reviews

Red Cloud was a great leader !!
Amazon Customer
I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in native american history.
Judith Goodwin
The book was well written and very detailed.
Bob Shinskie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on November 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have previously read other books on what has become known as Red Cloud's War but this effort by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin is a masterpiece in old west history. I was puzzled by the title "The Heart of Everything That Is" but I learned that it refers to the Paha Sapa or Black Hills in western South Dakota.

There were several variations of the Sioux tribes and the authors go into detail regarding the time preceding Red Cloud with Old Man Afraid of His Horses as the leader of the Oglala Sioux tribe. We also get a portrait of Jim Bridger, known as Old Gabe, and the authors wonder why more hasn't been written about this influential man in western history. Pretty Owl and Pine Leaf were loves of Red Cloud and the tragic death of Pine Leaf by her own hand is dealt with.

The controversial building of forts along the hated Bozeman Trail through Wyoming and into Montana provides the reader with additional information regarding the building of Fort Phil Kearny which led to the infamous Fetterman Fight on December 21, 1866, in which William Judd Fetterman lost his life along with eighty others. Who was to blame for this fiasco? Was it Fetterman himself or the ill-suited commander of the fort Henry Carrington? Of what role in the defeat, if any, did Tenedore Ten Eyck play? Did his delay in going to Fetterman's defense doom Fetterman and his men or would his support have just added to the victims?

I learned that it was American Horse who killed Fetterman and John "Portugee" Phillips had two others who sent out word of the disaster at Fort Phil Kearny with Phillips being the only one who traveled all the way to Fort Laramie to bring word on the day after Christmas.
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64 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Gerald R. Kessler on December 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this may be entertaining and does do some justice to the great Lakota leader Red Cloud, the lack of detailed editing concerns me. With just a cursory reading, several glaring errors standout. When describing the battle at Platte Bridge Station, the text places the conflict on the Oregon Trail somewhat east of Fort Laramie. However, the accompanying map clearly places the battle significantly west of Fort Laramie. That was a bit confusing. And Casper is not the capital of Wyoming. That honor is reserved for Cheyenne. Furthermore, the "14 mile city" of the Montana goldfields consisted of Virginia City, Nevada City, Alder and a string of attendant camps.along Alder Gulch. It by no means encompassed the gold camp of Bannack which is a good 65 miles distant. And while this may be nitpicking, the authors' reference to events in "far away Wyoming" at the end of the book rankles a bit since at the time there was no Wyoming. I suppose that can be forgiven since it may have merely been an attempt to place geography in a modern context. Still. Finally, short mention is made of the overriding reason for the government's decision in abandoning the forts along the Bozeman trail,which, of course, was the completion of the transcontinental railroad which made the trail through the Powder River country obsolete and hardly worth the cost and trouble of defending since the railroad provided a much more efficient means of getting to the gold fields of Montana. These may be small points,but it does make one wonder about the authenticity of the research. Read the book,but with some caution.
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38 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoy reading about the Native Americans and their struggle for survival, and this book does not disappoint. I find it to be very well researched, nicely written, and full of facts, yet not at all just another a "boring" history book.

I had heard of Red Cloud, but did not know any of the details concerning his leadership. This book does a good job of telling the reader how the Sioux people came to be located in the West in the middle of the 1800s. It actually starts out a couple of centuries before, laying the foundation for their struggle. Red Cloud is an interesting person because he is the only Native American to actually beat the white man in a strategic battle. During the years between 1865 and 1868 he formulated and executed his plans to drive the usurper from the Sioux lands. Amazingly, he succeeded, and won a treaty in which the US Army was required to remove three forts from the area, and stop allowing wagon trains to move through. As it turned out, the completion of the railroad across the country in the early 1870's killed off the buffalo herds, and the days of the free Native American were doomed. But that does not undermine his strategic achievements. The tale centers around the events of 1866, when Red Cloud (after much learning and studying) opened his campaign against the army, culminating in the destruction of over 80 soldiers at Fetterman's Massacre in 1866. While reading, I was struck by the imbalance of tactical and strategic genius - Red Cloud had the best military mind in the region.

The book is very readable and chock full of facts. I was fascinated to discover that they were driven from their eastern (Minnesota) origins not by the white man, but by other tribes who had acquired weapons from the fur traders.
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