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Comment: 100% guaranteed delivery with Fulfillment By Amazon. This paperback book shows standard shelf wear associated with limited use. The spine of this book shows some wear. Some pages have bent or rounded corners; however, the content of the pages is crisp and clean. Outside page edges show slight discoloration.
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Tecumseh: A Life Paperback – April 15, 1999

4.1 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Of Indian chief Tecumseh, U.S. president William Henry Harrison said, "If it were not for the vicinity of the United States, he would, perhaps, be the founder of an empire that would rival in glory that of Mexico or Peru." As it was, however, he was born just more than a decade shy of the discovery of the New World, and came of age in an era of violence and cultural decay in which Indian tribes across the continent expended all their energy to repulse the Europeans who were commandeering their land. By the end of the century, Tecumseh, a member of the Shawnee tribe, was an accomplished warrior; after losing his father and two older brothers to battle, he assumed the role of war chief. There seemed to be only two courses of action that might preserve his tribe: assimilation or war. After watching other tribes fail in their bids to mimic European society, the charismatic Tecumseh, aided by his brother (known as "the Prophet"), attempted a short-lived but inspired strategy of organizing a pan-Indian alliance to put down the European encroachers. It was while fighting alongside the British in the War of 1812 that Tecumseh was killed. His body was never found. Richard Johnson, the man who claimed to have taken the great chief down, went on to become Martin Van Buren's vice president.

With Tecumseh, biographer John Sugden expands the scope of his earlier book Tecumseh's Last Stand, which focused exclusively on the chief's final, fatal battle. In both books Sugden displays intimate knowledge of his subject; Tecumseh, however, takes a much more in-depth look at this complex man, his life, and the times that shaped him, and thus should appeal to American-history buffs as well as anyone interested in a carefully crafted biography of a fascinating character. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Running a simple search in WorldCat, OCLC's vast bibliographic database, yields scores of titles concerned with "Tecumseh?Shawnee Chief?1768-1813." The biographical literature devoted to Tecumseh perhaps exceeds that given to any other American Indian. Now Sugden, whose previous title on the Shawnee leader, Tecumseh's Last Stand (LJ 1/86), focused primarily on Tecumseh's final major campaign and ensuing death, has come out with a full biography of this great leader. This intelligent study of Tecumseh's life relates a great deal as well about the history of the Shawnee, especially in the Ohio region, and the wider context of Tecumseh's attempt to create a Pan Indian resistance, including a history of earlier such attempts. A very competent addition to the literature on this remarkable man; recommended for most academic and larger public libraries.?Charlie Cowling, SUNY at Brockport
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1st Printing edition (April 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805061215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805061215
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew S. Schweitzer on October 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
John Sudgen's "Tecumseh: A Life" is one of the more recent biographies of the famous Shawnee leader. Upon first reading of this book, I was not greatly impressed as the text was rather dry and languid. However, after delving more deeply into other works on Tecumseh's background and history of the War of 1812, I felt this work perhaps deserved another look.
Tecumseh of course is the famous Shawnee war leader who resisted American expansion into the Northwest Territory in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He has been the subject of many books and movies, many of them fanciful presentations of the mythical image that has grown up around the man that many have called the greatest Indian leader of all time. Tecumseh's dream of a powerful pan-Indian confederacy was visionary in scope as he hoped to unite not just a few, but ALL the Indian tribes east of the Missisippi and beyond against the flood of white settlers pouring across the Appalachian Mountains. Tecumseh came closer than any others to succeeding in that vision, but the British defeat in the War of 1812 and Tecumseh's death at the Battle of Moraviantown in 1813 ended that dream forever.
Sudgen's book helps to dispel many of the myths and tries to present the known facts about Tecumseh's life. While not nearly as engaging as Allan Eckert's "A Sorrow In Our Hearts", this book serves as a decent, if still somewhat slow going telling of the life of an undeniably capable leader. Sudgen also takes time to bash research of other historians who have done work on Tecumseh, ostensibly to help clarify the many myths and misconceptions that have grown up around the Shawnee leader in the past 200 hundred years, but the chapter comes off as more of a rant against other authors and diminishes the impact of the book.
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Format: Paperback
Sugden has put together a very important biography of this critical figure in the early national period. Tecumseh was uniquely gifted at seeing the larger picture. The tragedy of the volume is that, even given his gifts, Tecumseh was not able to bring the Native Americans together to resist those who would change their way of life. What Sugden makes clear is that, demographically speaking, it was unlikely that they could have done so. Nonetheless, that does not in any way diminish Tecumseh's accomplishments.

Unlike the Eckert volumes, which feature an uncritical inclusion of many of the myths that developed regarding Tecumseh, this is a critical biography. As a result many of the stories that grew up around Tecumseh are examined carefully--many are debunked. What emerges is an all the more remarkable individual who created a legend by serving a cause greater than self. We have Sugden to thank for painting that picture compellingly.
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Format: Hardcover
John Sugden's "Tecumseh" is more than a well researched biography of the great Indian chief; it is also a moving story of the clash of cultures in the Old Northwest in the late 18th and early 19th century. At no time are the Indians portrayed as the "gentle children of nature" oppressed by the wicked white man...a portrayal that has become all too common in our era where history is too often written from the viewpoint of the underclass. Instead, the Indians are portrayed as human beings ( at times noble and at times savage ) struggling to survive the whirlwind of the white world that was destroying their way of life.
Tecumseh's life and character are well documented and his dream of an Indian confederacy, united to resist the American seizure of Indian land, is the centerpiece of the book. Other Indian leaders, as well as Tecumseh's brother The Prophet, figure in the narative, as do the different approaches the various tribes took in dealing with the Big Knives. An understanding of Tecumseh's life is not the only reward derived from a reading of this book. One also comes away with a much deeper understanding of the divisions within the Indian world and the various problems they faced within a way of life on the road to extinction. At the end, one senses the true depth of the tragedy, and gains an admiration for a man of great character and nobility, who gave of all his energy, in an attempt to save his people and their way of life.
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Format: Hardcover
My knowledge of Tecumseh has been limited to what I have seen in a school filmstrip/tape. This book is well researched and gives a thorough description of Tecumseh's efforts to unite the various Indian tribes in an effort to keep their land from the advancing whites. The Battle of Tippicanoe against Wm. Henry Harrison is covered as is The War of 1812 in which Tecumseh allied himself with the British to advance the Indians' cause in stemming the tide against the United States. The entire book seems to be one battle after another, and I guess that's the way it was for the Indians in a futile effort to keep their land. Tecumseh's brother, The Prophet, is also covered and they appear to be two complete opposites. Tecumseh is eventually killed in battle in Ontario during The War of 1812, but he certainly has to get an "A" for effort in trying to unite the Indian tribes in their common cause of keeping their land. Their is a lot of information in the book, and at times, it gets somewhat long. However, the fact that I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 is not the fault of the book. It would be because my background on the subject was nill when I started.
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