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The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country Paperback – September 7, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Investigative journalist Hendricks significantly updates the story of the American Indian Movement (AIM) to reclaim civil and treaty rights, which has been generally underreported and lacked substantial book-length treatment since Peter Matthiessen's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1983). Bracketed by the 1976 murder of AIM activist Anna Mae Aquash and the 2004 trial related to it, Hendricks's swift narrative is riddled with judicial travesties, coverups, vigilantism, COINTELPRO-style tactics, mounting paranoia and lawlessness on both sides, as activists and ordinary American Indians confront the devastating neglect and outright hostility of government authorities. Based on reams of newly released official documents (many the result of the author's own Freedom of Information Act lawsuits) and interviews with many surviving actors and witnesses, the book's committed journalism doesn't leave its sympathies in doubt, while also holding AIM's militants responsible for their actions. Hendricks is careful throughout this harsh, heart-thumping account never to lose sight of the larger context. "Aquash," he persuasively reminds us, "was murdered because the government of the United States waged an officially sanctioned, covert war on the country's foremost movement for Indian rights." (Sept. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

It is no secret that American Indian tribes have received unconscionable treatment from the U.S. government for more than 200 years. But first-time author Hendricks, a freelance investigative reporter, doesn't tell the ugly panoramic history of the murderous relationship. Instead, he focuses on the last 35 years, during which the FBI often played the role of law breaker instead of law enforcer, abetted by factional strife within and among Indian tribes. Indian activists are shot dead or seriously wounded, as are FBI agents, not to mention innocent bystanders. High-profile cases such as the alleged wrongful conviction of Leonard Peltier surface throughout the convoluted text. But Hendricks uses a relatively low-profile case as the primary narrative thread: the unsolved 1976 murder of Anna Mae Aquash, a young Indian activist. Unlike many investigative reporters, Hendricks does not pretend to present a balanced case. He is outraged at the FBI's unaccountable conduct against a portion of the citizenry stereotyped as the enemy, so he builds a citizen indictment based on extensive and impressive research. Steve Weinberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (September 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568583648
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568583648
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #938,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

THE SHORT STORY

Steve Hendricks is a freelance writer living in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Helena, Montana. His first book, The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country, made several "best books of the year" lists in 2006.

THE LONGER STORY

Steve was born in Arkansas, raised in Texas, and educated at Yale. After college, he spent several years in Seattle and Montana, where he divided his time between writing about politics and doing politics. He twice ran for local office in Helena, Montana, and twice lost. (The first time was close; the second, not so close.) Since then, he has focused on writing.

In 2007 Steve began work on A Kidnapping in Milan, a story of the CIA's kidnapping of the radical imam Abu Omar and of one Italian magistrate's struggle to put the CIA on trial. Steve says, "The barbarisms of America's 'War on Terror' appalled me, as did reporters who went along with the barbarisms. I was particularly taken aback by the Bush (and now Obama) claims that torture-by-proxy makes us stronger. I wrote A Kidnapping in Milan because few reporters have shown what torture really looked like, because the Italian magistrate who was prosecuting the CIA kidnappers was a charismatic figure, and because I wanted to see if he would succeed in his struggle against American lawlessness. Also, before the CIA kidnapped Abu Omar, the Italians seemed to have had him under thorough and fruitful surveillance, and the snatch seemed to have badly damaged Italy's work against terrorists. This case, in other words, looked like a good example of how the War on Terror made the West less safe. I was also intrigued because the victim was probably a terrorist, not an utter innocent, which added some shades of gray to a story that might otherwise have been more black and white. I wanted to see if I could make a convincing case that torture was wrong no matter who its victim was."

Steve wrote The Unquiet Grave, his first book, because he was disturbed by the grim neglect that prevails in much of Indian Country. After reading Peter Matthiessen's monumental In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1983), Steve wondered what had been uncovered about the struggle between the FBI and the American Indian Movement in the years since. The short answer: not much. He intended The Unquiet Grave to fill part of the void.

Steve is married to Jennifer Hendricks, a professor of law at the University of Tennessee. She represented Steve in successful lawsuits against the FBI to release documents that formed the basis for The Unquiet Grave. The Hendrickses have a young son and an old dog.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By D. F. Downing on December 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Together with "The Race Beat"(Roberts & Klibanoff) and "Impounded" (Gordon & Okihiro), "The Unquiet Grave" completes a triumvarate of beautifully executed books published this year which scream the dangers posed by 'Homeland Security' abuses. Hendricks limns not just the atrocities of the FBI, but also the LAPD, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Justice Department, Supreme Court, State of South Dakota and more in a retch inducing indictiment. His deep though unobstrusive research starts in the Seventies and ends in today's world. This book deserves wide readership: and a wide readership deserves to know about this book. What happened to Indians or editors in Indian Country could very well happen to you and I today, anywhere. The governmental machine has lied and cheated and abused us all; only some of its direct objects, as discussed by Hendricks, happened to have red hued skin. Be warned, if you can be outraged by injstice, you may have trouble keeping your blood pressure under control while reading this book.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on October 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Compelling, all the more so because it's true, The Unquiet Grave is a narrative that reads more like mystery or drama than nonfiction. Hendricks assesmbles his extensive research, skillfully weaving the micro (Aquash's murder) and the macro (the Indian rights struggle) into a tale of betrayal and cover-up that will keep the reader hooked to the end. Painstakingly documented, this book unravels in careful detail the missteps and abuses of power of government agencies, AIM activists, and ruthless Indian tribal leaders alike; it is a chilling account of injustices that helped to sink the Indian civil rights movement and of the innocent Lakota men, women, and children brutalized in its wake. A powerful book with themes such as government surveillance, corruption, conspiracy, and paranoia that resonate to this day.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By I. Kincannon on December 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book reminds me of the adage: if you aren't appalled you haven't been paying attention. Before reading "The Unquiet Grave" I did not realize that Indian rights are being trampled by the U.S government in myriad ways even now. I knew of historical atrocities, the Trail of Tears, and so on, but I didn't know the extent to which the abuse continues to this day. Thanks to Steve Hendricks and his carefully researched book, now I am paying attention - and I am appalled.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A new fan in Seattle on October 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book helps one get understand the mind of the native american's - their struggles and the obstacles they face. This book bring to light yet another injustice. Beyond the subject matter, the book is written with style, sensitivity, a touch of advocacy (which is good and warranted), and with humor. Well worth the time.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By media witness on January 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Unquiet Grave is written as a non-fiction book should be written--with verve, wit, and balance. The author, Hendricks, sifts through reams of information without imparting the pain of his research to the reader; with a novelist's ear and eye he makes every word count, every paragraph visual.

Throughout the book he weaves interviews, news accounts, court records, and censored FBI documents into a story you learn to care about. He does not shy from critical analysis of historical events or of the characters and parties involved, which is refreshing given the geography of most U.S. journalism today.

If you're concerned about the abuses of government powers (past and present), if you think injustice needs to be properly witnessed, then flip through The Unquiet Grave. It's a good read, a hopeful beacon in the fog and the darkness of the American political psyche. Support an investigative journalist working in the heartland of the U.S. empire--they are a dying breed on a punishing road.
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Format: Hardcover
Steve Hendricks did the best job of any in documenting what happened during this period of time between American Indian people and no-Indian people in one document.
I was deeply committed and involved within the Indian communities because for some strange reason yet unknown to me I have been very close to Indian people since my youth.
I suffered and experienced the daily abject poverty with them in their homes and could not realize why they could never share what most of the people called the American Dream. I knew part of the answer was almost a
total culture of poverty rather than the Indian cultures I had learned about in school.Multi-generational abuse,physical,sexual,and substance abuse,was the direct cause of much dysfunctional behavior I witnessed.I decided early in my life and to do whatever I could do to help change whatever I could in my lifetime that would stop this injustice. I would give my own life to change that.
I always deplored most organizational efforts to accomplish anything however I joined the Michigan Chapter of the Great Lakes Indian Youth Alliance and the American Indian Movement. The reason why I joined is because for the first time in my life I could feel the surge of self respect,self actualization and spirituality within these organizations,and the individuals and Indian Communities involved at that time.It was a refreshing healing wind of change like you feel after a thunderstorm.
I actually thought the young brilliant Indian Warriors were street/woods wise and spiritual enough to avoid the pitfalls of other dominant culture civil and equal rights organizations but ultimately as far as I am concerned the movement became more and more corrupt exactly like the enemy as it matured.
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