on April 21, 2015
Rescue at Pine Ridge, written by Erich Martin Hicks
I would like to tell you how I discovered one of the best books I have ever read. A friend of mine on Facebook was speaking about a book he had just read… And since I spent summers visiting my grandparents in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, I was intrigued and ordered it immediately!
I then proceeded to look at the author's page on Facebook. He intrigued me as well… He is actually a fascinating man from California. We exchanged a few brief messages back-and-forth and told him I had ordered his book.
I have always been interested in stories of the heroic Buffalo soldiers and here was a book that combined childhood summers and history!
This author not only brings history to life within the pages of his book, but, he makes you an active participant... seeing, smelling, feeling, all the sites and sounds of the battles in the West (post-Civil War) by heroes not often brought to life in history books.
As you turn the final pages... you wish that you were again at the beginning of the book… To have lived through Erich Martin Hicks' (author) words, the characters have become real, become your relatives, friends, heroes.... and you don't want to say goodbye to them after you turn the final pages.
I look forward to any books this young author has in store for us... his writing is exceptional and brings history to LIFE!
on May 18, 2014
Rescue at Pine Ridge
By Erich Martin Hicks
Outskirts Press, Denver Colorado, Copyright © 2009
Review by Mark H. Schwartz. May 17, 2014
In a memorable scene found early in the narrative of Rescue at Pine Ridge, by Erich Martin Hicks, we see the Indian Scout, John Glass of the 9th Cavalry, coming in riding hard to the position of the Buffalo Soldiers of K Troop waiting to ford a stream. As the brave men look up, they hear him exclaiming, “Wagon in river, wagon stuck in river!” The language is coarse, grammatically suspect and utterly authentic. The year is 1880 – just a scant 16 years after the Civil War had ended in 1864. The famed Buffalo Soldiers are like no other force in the US Army, for they are, except for their commissioned officers, they are an all-Colored regiment, as African Americans were called in polite company in those days. The soldiers, some of the most courageous and skilled in the entire United States Cavalry, are also among the most poorly-treated and maligned of troops. That is because this is the United States of 1880, a post-war cauldron, punctuated by greed, prejudice and outright hate of all who are different.
The soldiers have been called to action and hasten to meet the challenge. It is the way of the frontier and it is the job of the Buffalo Soldier. The troop leader is a non-commissioned officer, named Sergeant George Jordan. Sergeant Jordan is highly rated not only by all his troopers, but also by the white officers who command the 9th Cavalry. However, we know that he will never rise above the rank of Sergeant, because no colored troop could ever hope to be awarded a commission. We learn that very early in the story, when a bumbling and inept trooper named Howard J. Mitchell that had enlisted to avenge the death of his hero, General George Armstrong Custer, is awarded the lieutenant’s commission that was rightly earned by the Corporal William O. Wilson. Corporal Wilson is fairly well educated for a Colored troop, we are told by the narrator. He is also considered one of the best marksmen in the entire US Cavalry. He is the crack shot that had actually saved the post commander, when he had been set upon by hostile Comancheros.
Then, Hicks proceeds to describe a scene in which a white merchant, named Bernstein finds himself and his family stranded in their wagon, foundering in the raging current of the Pecos River rapids. When Jordan, Wilson and the rest of K Troop gallop up to effect the family’s rescue, Bernstein cannot help but show his bigotry and ignorance: “You sure you know what you're doing? I didn't know they let you be soldiers? You coloreds need to go back and pick…” Ironically, the troopers indeed save Bernstein, his family and even his wagon and in the process win over a convert: “Gentlemen, ah, ah…I don't know what to say…but thank you, thank you…” The story is filled with stories like this, as the heroic troopers of K Troop are called on to display their skill and gallantry time and again, including the title rescue towards the end of the book.
Hick’s tale is set on the frontier of the west during the days of Manifest Destiny. We learn from his harrowing story that Manifest Destiny was not the glorious heroic push westward we were all taught in school, but rather a manifestation of a venal land grab, accentuated with coarse vigilantism, hostility for the Buffalo Soldiers and outright hatred for native tribesmen of the plains – the Apache, the Sioux, the Comanche and Comancheros.
While this is a novel, it is mostly a factual and historical account of what really went on at Little Big Horn, Wounded Knee and Pine Ridge. It is a real narrative with the real characters of the day – the Buffalo Soldiers portrayed are all historical figures, as are the officers and even the Indian tribesmen. The events described were real events told with exhaustively-researched, sharp and accurate detail. The story is told in a way that is more nearly that of a screenplay.
In fact, Hicks – who is professionally engaged within the film community, has it in mind to develop a mini-series, an epic film or perhaps even a cable television series. By the time you finish the last chapter, having devoured every pixel of the daguerreotype photographs presented at the end, you cannot help but come away with a far more enlightened perspective than the cliché of the Cowboys and Indians. If you are like me, you will be haunted by the unforgettable images in Hicks narrative and you will be very glad you chose to purchase and read his remarkable book.
on February 15, 2013
The author has brilliantly captured a focal point of history that many would never have known. Through his eyes and research, the reader is able to experience the tenets of hatred and humiliation, joy and pride of the 9th Calvary of Buffalo Soldiers. Although it takes a minute to adjust to the author's writing style, once engaged, the story is a page-mover, from beginning to end. I especially appreciate the artifacts included in the bibliography at the end of the book. Historically--a powerful story that needs to be told over and over again. Grammatically--a proofreader with a fresh eye is needed to overcome some of the errors--though not glaring, give the reader pause to determine what is meant. From what I understand from those who read, Fifty Shades of Gray, grammatical accuracy plays no part in telling a good story. It is the passion that engages and holds the reader's attention.
Keep writing and sharing the history through your special lens so we can see what you see!
on February 17, 2014
Although this is a novel,it is based on the truth as the title says.If you want to learn the real truth,then read this novel and learn more about the Buffalo soldiers and their role in keeping the peace in the west.The Buffalo Soldiers are a forgotten part of of our American history and should be given the credit they deserve.The author,Erich Hicks has done an excellent job in writing this.I found it quite riveting.
on December 4, 2014
This book was a good read and an entertaining and informative one. The author manages to transport the reader [in time and place] from the comfort of his or her easy chair to America's "Wild, Wild West," during the violent period of armed conflict with Native Americans from 1866 to 1891. This is a critically important account of the bravery and heroism of the "Buffalo Soldiers" of the Ninth Cavalry Regiment, the all-black enlisted men, along with their white officers. We get to listen in to the dreams and aspirations of those black "horse soldiers," which, in actuality, would be no different from their white counterparts, i.e., to serve their country honorably, to live and survive to fight another day, to win the respect of their fellow soldiers and a nation that de-valued and marginalized them, and finally to manage to make it to retirement and a decent and rewarding life afterwards. The empathy of the men of the Ninth Cavalry toward their Native American foes, with whom they engage in running and deadly violent battles on horseback, is told with great compassion and feeling for the inevitable plight of the Native Americans who are destined for a loss of their way of life. We hear and feel the stings of the antipathy of whites toward the men of the Ninth Cavalry. The blatant racism and disrespect exhibited by both white civilians as well as military are quite instructive regarding the resistance to full equality and fair treatment of African-Americans, even those who risk their lives for a country that does not fully value them. Yet, through all of this and notwithstanding the racial slurs and doubts of their abilities, the Ninth Cavalry in the end, rides triumphantly to the rescue of the all-white troopers of the famed Seventh Cavalry Regiment at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the final days of 1890. The detailed accounts of the Seventh Cavalry's participation in the massacre at Wounded Knee are quite disconcerting, to say the least. Moreover, we also learn of the Seventh Cavalry's subsequent debacle in getting itself ambushed and pinned down by the Sioux at Pine Ridge, nearly precipitating yet another "last stand" as with Custer (were it not for the timely winter ride and rescue by the Ninth Cavalry). The book contains a good descriptive narrative of "boots and saddles" and other such tidbits of the drills and military maneuvers of the cavalry of that time. However, more descriptive language might have been employed in regard to the few women who come into the story. I realize this is a story about the men of the Ninth Cavalry and women are only peripheral to the story to be told, but it might have been nice to give us more information, for example about the black women who are mentioned only in passing, on basically two occasions. One black woman is a laundress and the other is the lady friend of one of the troopers in the Ninth Cavalry. Both are only described as "a pretty colored girl." We are not told any more. Yet, in contrast, the physical descriptions of the men in the book are quite detailed, down to which side they parted their hair. I don't mean to nitpick, but . . . All in all, I enjoyed the read and would recommend this book highly.
on August 7, 2012
A table read is when actors get together and read the screenplay as the characters. Ironically the screenplay was written before the novel. We did the table read in front of a audience... They Loved It. I read for the character Trooper Augustus Walley. It was an amazing feeling to find myself part of the action. I was able to sit down and talk with the author Erich Martin Hicks, he has a true and personal insight into the history of the Buffalo Soldiers... I'm enjoying the novel now. Purchase a piece of American History... Listen out for Film/ Mini Series.
on April 6, 2015
Great historical book. Hard to call it fiction even though it is. Each scene is right out of history and not stretch the image very thin. Not much written on the Buffalo Soldiers and this is the best I have read.
on February 12, 2015
Erich M. Hicks brings to life a poignant but forgotten chapter of American history! His style takes you into the day-to-day life of the time, while the character interaction inspires and entertains you! "Rescue at Pine Ridge" is an insightful view into the strength, courage and discipline it took to build this country! The fact that this amazing rescue was made by a black regiment a few decades after the end of the Civil War shows how ready men and women were to show their potential, given the chance. This book will inspire and delight you!
on September 20, 2011
I just finished reading this marvelous novel. As the web master for the Greater Washington, DC Chapter and for the El Paso, Texas Chapter of the 9th & 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association, I review, study, write, lecture and read about the four Buffalo Soldier regiments on a daily basis. Some of my best research is drawn from the organizational returns filed by the officers upon their return from patrols, so this novel brought to life those same dry Army reports. Mr. Hicks' novel was akin to viewing the great John Ford's motion picture, "Sergeant Rutledge", except in written form. Bravo Mr. Hicks, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the amazing Major Guy V. Henry, the 9th Cavalry and that exceptional unit known as Troop K, 9th Cavalry (Horse). Using this novel as the screeplay, with no need for editing, would make a tremendous motion picture. Can you imagine today's top actors bringing this story to us in blu ray. Oboy!!!!
Trooper H. Crawford
on December 31, 2013
I am an avid African American Military History reader, and I really enjoyed reading Rescue at Pine Ridge. I was struck by, and really enjoyed the blend of the professional and personal lives of the 9th Cavalry soldiers. I liked the way that Mr. Hicks folded the daily soldiers' chores and duties into the story so I got a feel of how they handled what was probably a LOT of drudgery because of the types of lives they lived. But I also got a feel for how professional the soldiers were, and how they dealt with the racial attitudes of the people they were protecting. There was a lot of light irony in the bigotry they endured while they kept their sense of humor, and went about their business with continued dignity. The story was really well put together, and I loved the way the 7th Cavalry was portrayed...boorish and not very military, as evidenced by the first rout at Little Big Horn, and then the way their really incompetent officers made them blunder into Wounded Knee. I would love to see this story made into a movie! I highly recommend it to anyone who wants an honest look at how the Buffalo Soldiers handled being placed into the position of having to fight people who were fighting for the same things the former slaves had fought for. And I grew to respect the white officers who led them, and loved and respected them for their bravery and professionalism. And I learned how very social our soldiers were as evidenced by the dances they orchestrated. Truly an amazing and eye-opening story about the Buffalo Soldiers at many levels!