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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West (Library Edition) Unabridged Library Edition
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The book had a profound impact on readers when it was first published in 1971 for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it took a unique perspective. Reports of Treaty meetings, tribal histories, Congressional findings and interview transcripts have all been distilled to provide the Indian point of view. Indeed the books' subtitle is 'An Indian History of the American West'. The second factor has to do with when the book was published. Interest in environmental issues was growing and the accounts of the destruction by the settlers of the Eastern forests, the soiling of the rivers and the slaughter of the Buffalo herds struck a chord, especially when contrasted with the practices of the Indians. Readers began to see Indians in a different light, as the first conservationists.
The period of history covered is short. From about 1860 to 1890. The first chapter briefly sketches the interactions between Eupopean and Indians from the formers' arrival in Massachusetts in 1620 up to the setting up of the 'permanent indian frontier' west of the Mississippi in 1847.
The 'frontier' lasted no time at all. Gold was discovered, land was sought and settlers flocked west. To cover this in legitimacy it was necessary to invent 'Manifest Destiny'. The Indians were now doomed as history has shown that this policy made it manifest that the Indians were destined to be swept aside by the white man. All that we have left is their legends, their magical placenames and some works like this book that provides insights into how the West was really lost.
I also recommend "The Trail of Tears", by Gloria Jahoda, which is the history of the removal of the eastern tribes to the west. These two books are neccessary if you, as an American, want a complete education of American History.
Beyond education, these books present a people who loved the earth, trusted and respected mankind, and lived honorable lives. I trust that these stories of the near annihilation of our native people at the hands of our forefathers will effect you in unexpected ways, and that you will come away from the experience with new heroes, and a broken heart.
Throughout the book I couldn't help thinking about the real stories it contained that would make great movies. There's the story of the Seneca Indian who took the name Ely Parker and studied to be a lawyer. Because he was an Indian, he was not allowed to practice and so he became an engineer. During the Civil war he was Military Secretary to U.S. Grant. Later, he was appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs. How that all played out is a fascinating story. And then there is the story of the Ponca Indian, Standing Bear, who left the reservation in the late 1870s with a small band of people. Because of some helpful white men, his case was argued in the courts.Read more ›
It's impossible to consider fairly this, Dee Brown's 1971 examination of the Indian Wars of the American West, without remembering how much it cut against what was then still the mainstream thinking and literature regarding just what happened. The Indians were often bloodthirsty, it was alleged, and our American forefathers imbued themselves in the pioneer spirit by bringing the red man to heel. Brown took an entirely different course.
"Americans who have always looked westward when reading about this period should read this book facing eastward," Brown writes in his preface.
And that's how he writes it, from the perspective of displaced Navajos, Utes, Sioux, Apaches, and more than a dozen other American Indian tribes who were the victims of Manifest Destiny. As Brown tells it, their story is one of being washed away by the greed and savagery of white Americans.
The book is often strongest when that savagery is at its ugliest. At Sand Creek in 1864, a regiment of Colorado volunteers under the command of an American Eichmann, one Col. John Chivington, rode into a peaceful village of treaty-abiding Cheyennes and gunned down more than a hundred men, women, and children. Asked about the children, Chivington replied: "Nits make lice!"
It's a raw tale that sits like lead in the stomach of any decent-minded American. But for Brown, that's all you need to hear. The fact that Chivington was cashiered for his murdering, and Colorado's governor cast from office for his part in the massacre by President Andrew Johnson, is not mentioned here.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome book that I recommend everyone read at least once in their lifetime!Published 2 days ago by Cheryl A
Read this when It first was published. I was in high school and still have my copy. Had to get it for my kindle. The price was phenomenal! Such an incredible piece of history.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
I was assigned to read it in 1974 in H.S class...not being much of a book person,wasn'r expecting much,but turned out it was such a gripping read, couldn't put it down and read the... Read morePublished 6 days ago by gary hillerich
Will make you sad and angry. Should be required reading for every American citizen.Published 11 days ago by Darla Heart
A necessity to read and understand the plight of Native Americans Then one must also read the TRAIL of TEARS. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Stanley Kaplan