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The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History Paperback – September 27, 2005
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"Those wishing to understand Crazy Horse as the Lakota know him won't find a better accout than Marshall's." -San Francisco Chronicle
"Marshall's gloriously poetic and sweeping chronicle ushers in a new genre of American history . . . a tour de force." -Peter Nabokov, author of Native American Testimony
"A remarkable portrait of a remarkable man." -Colin G. Calloway, professor of history and Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies, Dartmouth College
About the Author
Joseph M. Marshall III, historian, educator, and storyteller, is the author of many books, including The Journey of Crazy Horse and The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for the Living, which was a finalist for the PEN Center USA West Award in 2002. He was raised on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation and his first language is Lakota. Marshall is a recipient of the Wyoming Humanities Award, and he has been a technical advistor and actor in television movies, including Return to Lonesome Dove. He makes his home on the Northern Plains.
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Also, it gives a very clear glimpse into the life, traditions, and forms of war between indian tribes, along with how they took the battle to the whites. If you really want to live taste of the experience of their history, without the campy cartoon image propped up about native americans, then this is the book for you.
Take the reins with him as he flies across the plains, that were so very much more to this great people than it will ever be to us. Take the reins and find out for yourself....
This is the most eloquent expression of the essence of Lakota that I have ever read. Marshall is well known for his connection with his Lakota ancestors and just as well known for his abundant talent as a writer and story-teller. In this book he shows the reader the nature of the Lakota by telling the journey of Crazy Horse – the most Lakota of all the Lakotas. And that is exactly what it is; a Journey and I earnestly recommend that you take it.
Marshall makes a very important point. Our “heroes” of all stripes were people whose heroism, like Crazy Horse’s, really came from who they were everyday – not just the few days they were in the national limelight. And it is in those parts of those personal journeys that we can find the dignity and strength and soul of a people who understood that the Land is our Grandmother.
It's no wonder Crazy Horse is'nt talked about much, he's a reaaallly bad example for men to follow....when you're trying to make men into sheep. Thank you Joseph M. Marshall III
Marshall sets Crazy Horse's life in historical perspective--that is, the Lakota history--not that of the US. The Civil War is barely mentioned, and the great westward migration appears only as a steadily growing trickle of whites through traditional Lakota hunting grounds.
When Crazy Horse is born, whites have been coming through the area for years, but they are only just beginning to set up permanent forts, and the volume is increasing to the point where they are disrupting the ecosystem--and thus having, for the first time, an impact on Lakota life. The big debate among the elders is what to do about it.
Crazy Horse is raised as a warrior, and that is how he approaches the problem. However, it quickly becomes apparent that the white way of war is not the Native American way. Whites fight to the death; Native Americans fight until it is clear who is stronger, thus preserving life. It is clear that the Lakota, led by Crazy Horse, are better fighters, one-on-one. However, the Whites are better armed. Crazy Horse's brilliance (at least for a while) was to develop tactics which forced whites to fight on Native American terms--and he won.
Over the years it became clear that winning battles was not enough. There were always more whites arriving to replace any that were killed. When a delegation traveled east to "negotiate" a treaty, they returned with descriptions of large cities which were populated with more whites than the Lakota could imagine. Clearly, they were not going to win a battle of attrition against the whites.
Some Lakota conceded defeat, and became "fort Indians"--entirely dependant on white beneficence for their existence--in the process, giving up the traditional hunting and warrior way. Others, lead by Crazy Horse, continued to battle. Crazy Horse, however, saw the end, and agonized over what the proper course was--continue to fight a doomed battle on principal, or give up.
In the end, he continued the fight well past the point where it was clear there was no path to victory; only slow defeat. When he finally surrendered--having been betrayed by the fort Indians--he was murdered by the whites.
Quite aside from providing a careful counter-perspective to the traditional "cowboys and Indians" narrative, Marshall tells a compelling story, which makes a good read.