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Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power (The Lamar Series in Western History) Hardcover – Illustrated, October 1, 2019

4.6 out of 5 stars 181 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“Impressive. . . . Lakota America takes us from the 16th century to the present, with painstaking, carefully marshaled detail, but its real feat is in threading how the Lakota philosophy and vision of the world guided their reinventions and their dealings with colonial powers. . . . Hämäläinen has the novelist’s relish for the strange, pungent detail . . . [in this ] accomplished, and subtle, study.”—Parul Sehgal, New York Times

“A comprehensive history of the tribe”—The Economist

Named One of the New York Times Critics’ Top Books of 2019

"A briliant, bold, gripping history."—Simon Sebag Montefiore, London Evening Standard, Best Books of 2019

"Turned many of the stories I thought I knew about our nation inside out."—Cornelia Channing, Paris Review, Favorite Books of 2019

“I recommend Pekka Hämäläinen’s Lakota America, which is my favorite non-fiction book of this year.”—Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg Opinion

Named One of the 10 Best History Books of 2019 by Smithsonian Magazine 

“Astonishing in its scope. . . . It is rare to find such a work, a deft narrative so comprehensive that also includes lots of original research.”—Jon M. Sweeney, America

Hämäläinen “recounts his story with unusual verve. . . . Many histories of the United States still depict Lakotas as ‘props’ or ignore them altogether. Hämäläinen’s work gestures toward a new map of power in North America's past, where indigenous polities and politics were as important as non-indigenous ones—until suddenly they were not.”—Christine Mathias, Dissent

“Hämäläinen surpasses most of the legions of authors who have delved into the people popularly known as the Sioux, and his work will appeal to serious readers, who will find this a must addition to their libraries.”—John Langellier, True West

"[A] magisterial book. Relying on newly available ‘winter counts’—pictographs drawn in spirals on buffalo hides, cloth, muslin, and paper to recount a year’s activities—Hämäläinen successfully makes the Lakota people unfamiliar to readers, disabusing us of the imagery inherited from popular culture depictions and painting a more nuanced picture. In short, he shows that the Lakota people have long been brilliant warriors, diplomats, and survivors.”—Tony Jones, Christian Century

Lakota America will undoubtedly become the standard work on early Lakota history and, more broadly, provide crucial context for understanding key events in the history of the American West. . . . It will stimulate rich conversation in upper-level and graduate seminars, and will long stand as essential reading for historians of Indigenous North America and the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century West.”—John M. Coward, American Indian Quarterly

"An important addition to the fields of North American imperial, Indigenous, and even environmental histories. . . . A fine piece of historical writing, of use to virtually any scholar of the American past."—Stephen Hausmann, The Annals of Iowa

"Comprehensive—its writing vivid, with rare clarity and power. . . This is a wonderful, engaging, and sometimes tragic book.”—Choice

“[A] profound history of the Lakota people. . . . Hämäläinen’s book emphasizes that to understand American history it is vital to understand Lakota—and, by extension, Native American—history. . . . Lakota America joins, and in many respects leads, a growing body of work centered on single-tribe histories through which we can see, for the first time, the wild making of America.”—David Treuer, New York Review of Books

Shortlisted for the Mark Lynton History Prize, sponsored by the Columbia School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation.

Winner of the Western Heritage Book Award for Nonfiction, sponsored by  the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum 

Winner of the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize, sponsored by the Center for Great Plains Studies

Winner of the 2020 Spur Award, sponsored by the Western Writers of America

Finalist in the PROSE Awards North American and U.S. History category, sponsored by the Association of American Publishers

“Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse live in history as great warriors. Hämäläinen’s brilliant exploration of the history and culture of the people that produced these two men is destined to become a classic.”—Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard University

“Deeply researched, epic in scale, interpretatively adventurous, and ambitious, Lakota America will influence historians for years.”—Richard White, Stanford University

“Like the Lakotas he studies, Pekka Hämäläinen is a shapeshifter. He is nuanced, nimble, and wise, with an uncanny capacity for reinvention as new understandings come to light. The result is stunning. To read Lakota America is to rethink American history itself.”—Elizabeth Fenn, University of Colorado Boulder

Lakota America is beautifully researched, persuasively argued, and justifiably audacious in its reach and implications. It is both a landmark in American Indian history and a provocative rethinking of North American history generally.”—Elliott West, University of Arkansas

About the Author

Pekka Hämäläinen is the Rhodes Professor of American History and Fellow of St. Catherine’s College at Oxford University. He has served as the principal investigator of a five‑year project on nomadic empires in world history, funded by the European Research Council. His previous book, The Comanche Empire, won the Bancroft Prize in 2009.

Product details

  • Publisher : Yale University Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2019)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 544 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0300215959
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0300215953
  • Item Weight : 2.04 pounds
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 181 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
181 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Important and Briliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2020
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3 people found this helpful
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Henk van de Rijt
5.0 out of 5 stars Geschreven vanuit het perspectief van de Lakota’s
Reviewed in Germany on February 3, 2020
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Darren McAndrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service and delivery by amazon
Reviewed in Australia on December 11, 2020
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