From Publishers Weekly
Comprehensively researched and well-written, this is a major history of a bleak episode in U.S.-Indian relations. The Nez Perce of Oregon had been peaceful and prosperous until white encroachment led to a unilateral government decision to remove the tribe to a remote reservation in Idaho. A handful of renegades killed 18 settlers, beginning a war that would pit some 300 warriors under Chief Joseph (c. 1840-1904) against the federal army. Still, the small band outfought and out-thought the bluecoats, inflicting one of the army's worst defeats of the Plains Indian Wars at White Bird Canyon. Hampton, an instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School in Wyoming, integrates the experiences of Nez Perce and army soldiers in a balanced depiction of the face of battle. He also makes sophisticated use of Nez Perce sources in analyzing leadership and decision making in a loose association of bands plunged into a war no one had wanted. Hampton's final chapter on the Nez Perce deportation to Indian Territory in violation of what they understood as the terms of their surrender is a grim coda. Photos not seen by PW .
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Using authoritative sources, Hampton, a Native American history scholar, presents an objective account of the Nez Perce war and offers a glimpse into the lives of the Indians struggling to maintain their homeland and way of life. Prior to 1877, the Nez Perce were a peaceful and wealthy band. Misled by the white man's promises and faced with encroachment, a renegade band massacred 18 settlers. Fearing retribution, over 750 Nez Perce Indians began their flight toward Canada, followed by several army regiments. This war would eventually last several weeks, cover 1200 miles through three states, involve numerous battles, cost over $930,000, and result in the loss of many lives before the Indians would be forced to surrender only miles from their destination. This poignant and readable work is definitely recommended for public libraries.- Terri L. Summey, Emporia State Univ. Lib., Kan.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.